By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
11:40 AM EDT, October 5, 2013
Since taking over as the Miami Dolphins' starting cornerback, Nolan Carroll hasn't been an easy mark for opposing wide receivers, despite being frequently targeted opposite veteran corner Brent Grimes.
The former University of Maryland player has allowed opposing passers to compile just a 69.6 passer rating and a 50 percent completion rate, according to Pro Football Focus. He's recorded 15 tackles, four pass deflections and one interception in three starts.
"I think right now I'm playing well," Carroll said in a telephone interview heading into Sunday's game against the Ravens. "Each year has been an improvement for me and a learning experience with something different I've learned. This year, I've seen everything you can throw at me. That's really helped my experience and growth and ability to know each situation and personnel.
"With me not getting that much experience in college and missing my senior year, it's been a lot to take in. I've been in the tough game situations and come up and know what to prepare for. With my mindset and my technique, I feel a lot better. I feel very confident."
In his fourth season after being drafted in the fifth round in 2010, Carroll has started this season with Dimitri Patterson sidelined with a groin injury. During a 38-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night, Carroll allowed only two completions.
"He’s a hard-working guy," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said at his Friday press conference. "He’s very, very professional, very detailed with the things he does. You know you’re going to get his best effort. I’m not surprised he’s done a nice job.”
Like the Ravens, who lost 23-20 last Sunday to the Buffalo Bills, the Dolphins are trying to rebound from a defeat.
"Definitely, both teams didn't play well by any means," Carroll said. "We made a lot of mistakes. We kind of want to get back on track and correct those things after a short week for us. The Ravens are a tough, physical team that went through the same downs and lows and pains.
"They're the defending Super Bowl champions, so we have a lot to prove and measures ourselves against them. We're trying to get back on our feet after Monday night."
In 17 career starts, Carroll has 103 tackles, three interceptions, one sack and one forced fumble.
It's been a steady progression for Carroll since breaking his leg during his senior year in College Park.
"I always feel like I have something to prove," Carroll said. "You feel like you're trying to beat those odds. You keep working hard every day and you don't stop. You want to establish yourself."