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The Dolphins obviously thought highly of Leonte Carroo’s potential last year, which is why they were willing to pay a price for the opportunity to select him in the third round of the 2016 draft.
Head Coach Adam Gase still thinks Carroo has a lot to offer despite his rather nondescript rookie season and he also believes he knows how to get the most of the wide receiver’s ability.
“We need to lean on his strengths more, which I don’t think I did a very good job with last year,” Gase said. “I have a better idea of, how we do want to use him this year going forward? If something were to happen with one of those guys outside, we definitely know how we want to use him to his strengths. We feel like we have a good idea of what those strengths are. You have a guy that’s smart, an extremely hard worker and he does have a desire to be a guy that ends up starting for us at some point in his career. That’s a tough lineup to crack. But the fact that that’s his mind-set, I feel like we have a great opportunity to get him better this year.”
Carroo played 14 games for the Dolphins last season with two starts. He finished with three catches, two in the season opener against the Seattle Seahawks and one against the San Francisco 49ers, a 15-yard reception for his first NFL touchdown.
In the last two games, though, Carroo was replaced lineup at wide receiver by undrafted rookie free agent Rashawn Scott.
The reality is it was tough for a young wide receiver to make an impact for the Dolphins last season considering the presence of Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker, all of whom had at least 700 receiving yards.
The Dolphins traded a sixth-round pick in the 2016 draft plus third- and fourth-round selections this year for the third-round choice they used to select Carroo last year.
Carroo joined the Dolphins after catching 29 touchdown passes his last three years at Rutgers and averaging 19.5 yards per reception. So the ability clearly is there.
Gase is confident it will begin to show on a consistent basis for the Dolphins.
“He did a lot good things early in the season,” Gase said. “I think as the year went on, it was tough when DeVante came back. He was less involved. You lose track sometimes of when a guy is your fourth or fifth receiver. The reason they’re in that spot is they’re behind really good players and they’re probably a little more limited as far as what you want to do than you put in your brain. You’re always thinking they should be able to do everything because they’re backing up all three spots.”
Gase says part of the plan for 2017 is streamlining Carroo’s responsibilities and having him focus perhaps on perfecting a particular role.
“Yes, I think that’s going to be a little bit more of what we’re going to lean on this year,” Gase said. “I think I really threw too much at our guys trying to get them to do too much last year. I thought that was part of our poor start. (It was) too much for them and we kind of scaled back somewhat when we hit that Pittsburgh game and said, ‘All right, here’s what we’re going to do.’ We really focused on the finer details of everything and guys did a great job of doing the things that we asked them to do and they perfected it. We had a way better result. That’s probably what we’re going to (do), start off that way and build from there.”