T.J. Carrie Looks To Find Role In Colts Secondary
INDIANAPOLIS — Cornerback T.J. Carrie realizes he’s going to have to be flexible in finding a place to play with the Indianapolis Colts.
While he prefers to line up inside, he just signed with a Colts team that has one of the NFL’s best nickel corners in Kenny Moore II. So Carrie, who has started in 51 of his 92 games in six seasons with Cleveland and Oakland, accepts that fitting into a new defense will be an adjustment.
“To be honest, I definitely like playing inside in the sense where you get a little more flexibility, right?” Carrie said on a video conference call last week. “I definitely have played both in my career – constantly I have bounced inside and outside just being able to have that versatility. I would say inside only because you get to blitz, you know what I mean? There are other opportunities there for you playing in that inside position.
“But I love playing outside as well. It’s something that I continue to pride myself on, on being able to really have a unique craft on being able to do both in times of need. There have been times in games where I have been playing all outside and then something happens (and) I’ve got to go inside or I’m playing inside and then have to go outside. So it’s definitely a unique situation where you have to hone your craft on both abilities. I can say from the inside perspective you just get a little bit more opportunity to do more exotic things on the defensive field than outside. So I would say that.”
Carrie signed a one-year deal for $1.047 million, according to spotrac.com. He has 269 total tackles, 42 passes defended and five interceptions in his NFL career, one he hopes will be bolstered by learning from the likes of Moore.
“He has been able to do it for a really high level and definitely somebody who has done it, proved himself to be able to do it and is considered a top-tier in that position,” Carrie said. “So it will be interesting to learn some of the things that he does really well and see how we all can fit within the defense in terms of coaches always finding ways to get all of the guys that they can on to the field. So he has definitely done it at a high level and he’s continuing to do it.”
The Colts needed to shore up a young secondary, especially after the release of their best cover guy, Pierre Desir. Carrie was signed because he’s experienced and versatile. Former Minnesota Vikings All-Pro cornerback Xavier Rhodes agreed to a one-year deal to be a cover corner on one side while Rock Ya-Sin, a 2019 second-round pick, enters his second season.
Carrie says he learned a lot in Cleveland about the importance of preparation. And although the winter routine is anything but normal with teams yet to report for offseason training activities due to the coronavirus pandemic, he’s already focusing on what he needs to do when that time comes.
“If we can give 100 percent every play then regardless of some of the mistakes that we make, effort from everyone on that field will be able to overcome that,” Carrie said. “So it was a unique thing in a position because most of the time I think that in this league defensive backs on the backside are not asked to as much, but coming from a defensive coordinator in Coach (Gregg) Williams, (he) demanded effort from the backside corner or the backside nickel, the backside players that were away from the play.
“He demanded effort and I think that was one thing that in my earlier career, yeah I gave effort but in the sense where we are talking about this is the difference between being there for that missed tackle or being there for that tipped ball, the deflected ball. It was just so much of a difference, so it’s something that I have really tried to hone in my craft in the sense where now I’m doing a lot more running in the instances where I can give 100 percent every play down-in and down-out.”
Carrie has heard from others who have played for the Colts and is excited about coming to Indianapolis.
“I have always heard really, really great things from the top down,” he said. “One of the products that we had that came out of Ohio University was LaVon Brazill, our receiver. He loved it here. We went to one of his games when I was in college and we also had an opportunity to just come up and see the city. I always thought to myself, ‘Man, the city is nice.’
“From hearing a lot of what I’ve heard from a number of players that have been in the organization, it’s always been an amazing process of going through it from the top and bottom – a complete organization. So being able to join was definitely exciting in the process that the organization is complete from top down. It’s definitely a great city to be in and a great organization to play in. So I had a little bit of familiarity in the sense that I’ve had people here – players, friends – that have loved it.”