TJ Carrie could have pouted when fellow cornerback Terrance Mitchell surpassed him during training camp for a starting job with the Browns.

Instead, Carrie kept working and positioned himself for another opportunity to become a significant contributor. After Briean Boddy-Calhoun struggled as the nickel cornerback in a season-opening 21-21 tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Carrie stepped into the role the past two games.

"He's done very well," defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said Friday during a conference call. "He fits into what we want to do and then when he also plays we try to morph into a few things that he does very, very well."

Now Carrie hopes to help the Browns (1-1-1) win consecutive games for the first time since 2014 when they visit his hometown Oakland Raiders (0-3) on Sunday. The native of Antioch, Calif., spent the past four seasons playing for the Raiders before he joined the Browns in March by signing a four-year, $31 million contract as an unrestricted free agent.

"A lot of emotions being able to go back to a state where I was born and raised and really had the start of my career," said Carrie, who received 70 ticket requests from friends and relatives. "So it's definitely going to be a lot of high emotions.

"It will feel a little bit awkward being able to see all of those faces that I seen for a very long time in that sense and now being on the opposing team. That’s going to be definitely a situation that I’m going to have to control my emotions and make sure that I’m focused."

Carrie wanted to stay with the Raiders, who drafted him in the seventh round in 2014 out of Ohio University.

"There were negotiations with my agent," he said. "Definitely they wanted me there as well. Everything just didn't fall into the place that we wanted it to fall."

Browns General Manager John Dorsey revamped the cornerback room by signing Carrie, Mitchell (three years, $10 million) and E.J. Gaines (one year, $4 million) and drafting Denzel Ward fourth overall. Carrie practiced as the starter opposite Ward early in training camp, but Mitchell gained ground, took hold of the job and never let go. Mitchell and Ward have three takeaways apiece, accounting for six of the defense's NFL-leading 11 takeaways.

"It's competition, but at the end of the day, we're doing what's best for the team," Carrie said. "I think that [Mitchell] came on and definitely did some positive things, and I continue to exalt him for doing those things, and we want to continue to see that because it helps benefit the team. Now it's my job to continue to find my way, making plays as well, getting turnovers and being as effective as I can."

Carrie, 28, has been an effective resource this week while the Browns have prepared for the Raiders.

"He has an awareness about the guys that he practiced against out there all the time. He has awareness about their abilities," Williams said. "... As a coach, I would be remiss if I didn't exhaust all resources."

Carrie has compiled 10 tackles, including a sack, and a pass defensed while playing 72 of 129 snaps (56 percent) the past two games.

"TJ's been great," linebacker Joe Schobert said. "Obviously, he's a good teammate, a good professional. He knows his stuff 'cause when he gets in there as nickel he's been able to lock down some of the slot [receivers]. He's a very good communicator, so when he sees the looks, when he sees splits and formations, he's shouting out routes or route combinations he thinks are coming or have the potential to be what the offense is running. It's been overall good for our defense."

 

Nate Ulrich can be reached at nulrich@thebeaconjournal.com. Read his Browns coverage at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByNateUlrich and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.