DAVIE — Leonte Carroo may start for the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Baltimore, and if he does, the rookie wide receiver says he’ll be ready.
Carroo caught his first career touchdown pass last Sunday. And the key to his success in that game was simple.
He knew what he was doing.
“It’s been a humbling experience,” Carroo, with three catches in 11 games, said of this season.
When Kenny Stills became ill in a game against the Jets last month, Carroo played 33 snaps, but did not have a catch.
“That game I can honestly say I wasn’t as prepared,” Carroo said. “You just kind of get into a flow of the season that you just expect that you’re pretty much not going to play. That game helped me realize that I’m actually one injury away from being out there. So I started to prepare a lot better.”
DeVante Parker has a back injury and has missed three consecutive practices. The Dolphins are preparing to play without him. One reason Carroo (3rd round, 86th overall) has had a slow adjustment to the NFL is that he has had to learn all three receiver positions.
“You can be in any spot at any time, rather than college, where you just pretty much line up at your position,” Carroo said.
Carroo said that veterans Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills have looked out for them. He added that the receivers get (another word for mad) when he or rookie Jakeem Grant make mistakes.
“He stays with it,” coach Adam Gase said. “He was struggling a little bit with the volume and what he had to do and knowing multiple positions. The longer we’ve gone, the better he has got a grasp of our offense. You can see he’s a lot more comfortable right now.”
Gase was pleased with Carroo’s routes last Sunday.
“He was on point,” Gase said. “He did everything exactly right.”
Carroo has made a positive impact on special teams. He’s in position to make his biggest impact of the season on Sunday, in what is essentially a playoff game at Baltimore.
The touchdown Carroo scored, carrying a 49ers defensive back 10 yards into the end zone, gave him a boost of confidence.
“I probably had 150 text messages and 300 tweets and Instagram posts,” Carroo said. “The whole of New Jersey pretty much went crazy when I scored my first touchdown. Especially Rutgers.”
Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said the rookies won’t be treated as such the rest of the way.
“I think those young guys – (Leonte) Carroo, Jakeem (Grant) – they’re going to have to be some bad boys down the stretch for us to get where we want to go,” Christensen said. “They’re going to be critical.”
Carroo has been impressed by the veterans in the Ravens secondary he’ll see this week. He realizes the difference between NFL and college defensive backs.
“They are much smarter,” Carroo said. “These vets that play corner in this league, they know what you’re running sometimes.”
At least now, Carroo feels like he knows where he needs to run.
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