Nolan Carroll, has made such an impact playing a position foreign to him at the start of training camp that he deserves to get a shot in his comfort zone now.
The veteran cornerback was signed as a free agent after spending his first four NFL seasons in Miami, but has spent no time actually playing that position.
Instead, he's been used exclusively as an inside defender in the Eagles' dime package, ostensibly serving as an inside linebacker.
His adjustment was slowed not just because everything was new to him, but because he wasn't physically sound coming out of training camp. He had a hamstring strain that limited him almost the entire preseason.
But as anyone who saw him flying around against the Arizona Cardinals last week in a 24-20 loss probably thought at the time, he looks a lot faster now.
That's because he is.
"There was a lot of trial-and-error stuff," he said, "and now I have the experience, and it showed.
"I had nicks and bruises I was dealing with for the first five weeks of the season. If it wasn't one thing, it was another. It was hindering me. Finally, in the bye week, I was able to get my body back."
The problem is that tomorrow the Eagles face the Houston Texans, a team that likes to punish opponents with a 50-50 run-pass balance. Rarely will they present an offensive look that requires the Eagles to counter with six defensive backs.
But Carroll looks like he deserves to play regardless now, whether it's to spell or flat-out replace outside starters Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams or fill in for nickel specialist Brandon Boykin, who has been dealing with a nagging hamstring issue that clearly has affected his speed and performance.
Will that happen?
"That's one of those questions you have to ask the coaches," Carroll said. "That's not up to me at all."
It's one of many dynamics worth watching tomorrow.
Nick Fierro | bleacherreport.com | November 1, 2014