PITTSBURGH –Cornerback Nolan Carroll put on a show for the Eagles' defense in the first quarter of Thursday night's 17-0 win over the Steelers with a pass breakup, drawing an offensive pass interference penalty and an interception which he returned 38 yards for a touchdown.
It's safe to say, then, that Carroll is all the way back from the season-ending ankle injury he suffered in the Thanksgiving Day loss to Detroit in 2015.
"I've been saying that all along so maybe everyone will believe me," said Carroll, who started on the outside opposite Leodis McKelvin, with Ron Brooks as the starting nickel cornerback. "I feel great and I'm out there playing with a lot of confidence."
Carroll showed right from the start of the game that he was on edge. The Steelers went deep down the left sideline against Carroll on the very first offensive snap from scrimmage and Carroll ran stride for stride with wide receiver Sammie Coates and was in perfect position to break up the throw. Then he made his second play, jumping a Coates route and intercepting a Landry Jones pass – Carroll out-muscled Coates on the play – and returned it 38 yards for a score to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead. Later in the quarter, Carroll drew a pass interference pass against Coates on another long pass down the left sideline.
If the starting job on the other side of McKelvin is still there, Carroll stated his case emphatically against the Steelers. He's gotten better and better after signing a one-year contract with the Eagles in the spring and working his way back onto the field, slowly at first and then with gusto when Training Camp started.
"I feel really good about where I am and what this defense is all about," Carroll said. "We have a lot of players who are hungry to get out there and play hard and get to the football. It's been fun. We have a lot of camaraderie and we're taking the football away a lot these first two preseason games. We've got to keep getting after it."
Nothing has been set in stone as far as the starting lineup and coordinator Jim Schwartz will continue to challenge his defense. This is the preseason and the Eagles have a long way to go on both sides of the ball before the September 11 opener against Cleveland at Lincoln Financial Field.
"We're going to keep working hard and playing hard and having fun and believing in each other," Carroll said. "We'll be ready for the regular season when it gets here."
The Eagles traveled to the Steel City for week two of the preseason and faced off against the Pittsburgh Steelers for Thursday Night Football where they took home the 17-0 victory.