If football is a game of inches, Ahmad Carroll's position as a gunner on the Jets' special teams is of utmost importance because it results in yards of field position at a time.
"Just get down the field," Carroll, signed by the Jets in July, said of his role on teams. "Make them fair-catch it, down it inside the 5 or make the tackle before they get started. We play a lot of good teams with good returners and that's pretty much what they're trying to do — get some good field position for the other team."
Carroll, the former first-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers now in his fourth NFL season, said he's been getting a lot of tutelage and advice from special teams coach Mike Westhoff.
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"Everything he's been saying has been working for me," he said. "When I came in, there's a lot of stuff I was doing wrong and he corrected it early."
Carroll has been known for his speed and agility since his days in pee wee football. That's when he was given the nickname "Batman," which has stuck with him to this day.
"I got it from my little league coach," he said. "I started playing football when I was 4. He pretty much just gave it to me. I was always fast. He said, 'I'm going to call you Batman,' and it just stuck with me."
Carroll drew one very important penalty against an opponent this season. Two games ago, Jon Corto of Buffalo was called for holding him on the kickoff return that Leodis McKelvin took for a touchdown. The Jets went on to pull that game out, 31-27.
His improved game has also enabled him to force two fumbles, on a kickoff return at Oakland and on a punt return at San Francisco.
"They tend to double-team me and Wallace," he said, referring to Wallace Wright, whose team-leading 26 ST tackles are just one more than Carroll's tackle total.
Wright has proven to be one of the league's most effective teams players and doesn't hesitate to share what he's learned with his teammates.
"If I'm not down there, Wallace is," said Carroll. "He's been doing a great job for the past two or three years. When I first got here, he would take me out at practice to show me some stuff to use to get rid of double-teams."
Wright said that in practice, Carroll should "try different things, because guys watch film just like we do. So you won't want to do the same thing that you do every game. You want to try some different moves, be physical, be quick, be fast. It's all about switching it up."
Carroll and his squad will continue to switch things up Sunday when they face familiar foes in the Miami Dolphins and Davone Bess, who's averaging 10.8 yards on his punt returns and 22.2 on his kickoff returns.
"It's been double teams every week," said Carroll. "I must be doing something good."