Carroll Rebounds With Game-Changing Performance


While reviewing tape of their game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday, Ahmad Carroll's interception so impressed eight-year-veteran safety Earl Little that he curiously turned to the second-year cornerback.

"How did you make that play on the ball?" Little said. "It was an amazing play."

Carroll made that play with the Buccaneers at the Green Bay 32-yard-line and poised to score. Quarterback Brian Griese heaved a pass to running back Michael Pittman with 9:31 left in the game. The ball lodged between Pittman and Carroll, but Carroll deftly scooped it out with one hand before rolling over.

"The interception was certainly a great break on the ball," head coach Mike Sherman said.

Carroll's performance extended beyond one play. Starting in place of Joey Thomas, who sat out the game because of a concussion suffered during Week Two, he recorded six tackles and one pass defended. He also avoided committing the penalties, which plagued him in Week One.

"Carroll did do some very good things in the game," Sherman said. "He played very well and certainly a consideration to start this week."

Carroll worked on his footwork during the offseason to eliminate his pass interference penalties that he struggled with last year. Three of his four penalties in Week One were for illegal hands to the face.

Those problems arose because the 5-10 Carroll had difficulty matching up against the Detroit Lions wide receiving trees of Charles Rogers, Roy Williams and Mike Williams, who top out at 6-3, 6-3 and 6-5, respectively.

The Lions' receivers also induced penalties on the Packers bump-and-run defenders by dropping their helmet. Doing so forced Carroll to grab him there or at least make it look he was doing so.

"They had a good game plan," Carroll said.

Against the Bucs, Carroll often faced the 5-11 Joey Galloway. Even when he did match up against the 6-4 Michael Clayton, the receiver did not drop his helmet.

"I don't think I got any better. I just knew I had to watch my hands," he said. "I just got more conscious."

Sherman has not announced the starter at left cornerback for Monday's game. Carroll, however, said he is more concerned with his performance than whether he lines up on every down. He stated his goal to intercept six passes this year. If he continues on his current path, he could attain that lofty objective.

"He's improving every week," said Little, who hugged Carroll on the sideline after the interception. "This year's he's started to turn things around."

Carroll could have really turned Sunday's game around if he had returned his interception to the end zone, he lost his footing on the slick field

"When you get opportunities, you've got to make sure you keep your feet and try to get in the end zone," Carroll said.

He still managed to return the pass all the way to the Tampa Bay 32-yard line and set up a five-play, eighteen-yard scoring drive, which ended in a Ryan Longwell 32-yard field goal.

Carroll declined to dwell on his interception, the first turnover forced by the Packers this year. He focused instead on Monday's game versus the Carolina Panthers and praised their receiving corps.

"I'm thinking about Steve Smith right now and everything he's capable of doing," he said. "We've got to go out there on Monday Night and be ready to play."

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