Nigel Carr isn’t shy about tackling challenges. That attitude helped him land at Alabama State after getting kicked out of Florida State after a burglary arrest. It’s aided him as he seeks to make the Ravens’ active 53-man roster.
But as an undrafted rookie in a crowded inside linebacking corps that includes starters Ray Lewis and Jameel McClain and reserves Brendon Ayanbadejo, Dannell Ellerbe and Ricky Brown, Carr knows that the odds are against him.
“Some days, it’s tough,” he conceded after Tuesday’s practice at the team’s training complex in Owings Mills. “It’s so hard not to think about the number game. It’s so hard not to think about certain things going into it. But you’ve got to trust in God. He has a plan for you. So it’s just about going out there every day and just constantly working to get better. At the end of the day, the chips will fall where they may. If you’re meant to be a Raven, you’ll be here. That’s how I look at it. It’s hard sometimes. I get down on myself when I don’t do as well as I want to, but I know I’ve just got to keep pushing and stay positive.”
The 6-foot-2, 247-pound Carr has been earning compliments from coach John Harbaugh and linebackers coach Ted Monachino for his tackling ability and his speed. But Monachino said two areas that Carr has to hone are his abilities to rush the quarterback and drop back in pass coverage.
Carr acknowledged that recognizing what to do in those two areas is something he is working on.
“It’s not that hard physically, but mentally, you have to know situational football and know what you can get out of certain formations and know your personnel and things like that,” he said. “I think it’s more of a mental thing. Once you get used to the game speed, it feels like you’re at home.”
Carr finished with two tackles (including one for a one-yard loss in the second quarter) in Thursday night’s 31-17 win against the Atlanta Falcons and he could find himself again on the second defense against the Detroit Lions on Friday night. Carr said he isn’t concerning himself with his status on the depth chart just yet.
“It feels good, but you still can’t let it get to you,” he said. “You’ve got to realize that every day is a new day, and you’ve got to come out every day and have a great practice. It’s a constant grind. You’re learning new things every day. So I just have to take it one day at a time.”