Dolphins rookie receiver Jarvis Landry said he chose No. 14 to represent the year he finally benefited from all of his hard work. But he is not done working hard.
Landry remained on the field Sunday as other Miami receivers bolted to trainers after the practice. Day 3 of training camp had been the first practice in pads and the longest one yet, held under the same inescapable sun.
None of that stopped the second-round pick.
Landry excelled in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, catching passes from Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore. And he continued to work after practice ended.
Coming out of LSU, Landry drew praise as a polished route runner. Still, he ran extra routes after practice with a coach, working on getting out of cuts and looking back for the ball.
Then, Landry jogged to the JUGS machine so an assistant could fire passes at him. Landry’s big, reliable hands are also a strength, but he still works to improve them.
Suffering in the heat, Landry paused to take off his pads but did not stop practicing. Sixty times the machine slung a ball at Landry — high, low, left and right — and 60 times Landry corralled it. Sling, pop. Sling, pop. Sling, pop.
“If you want to be great at something, you have to work at it all the time, even if you’re good at it,” Landry said afterward. “That’s just one of my mentalities and part of my work ethic.”
After catching the final ball of the day, Landry returned to his pads and kneeled over. For 30 seconds, he did not move.
Landry had talked about the South Florida heat with a smile Friday, but there was no smile Sunday as he crouched, motionless.
“I was praying that I would make it off the field from the heat,” he explained, still out of breath.
Eventually, Landry gathered himself and trudged toward the shade. His work was done.
During the draft process, the biggest knock on Landry was his average speed. But that has not stopped him from quickly getting noticed in Davie before Monday’s off day.
First, owner Stephen Ross raved about Landry after Day 1 of training camp Friday.
“Jarvis Landry is somebody I think everybody is really excited about, speaking to the coaches,” Ross said. “He’s really going to be somebody that’s going to surprise a lot of people and really bring some excitement to this team.”
A day later, coach Joe Philbin complimented the rookie.
“He seems to be kind of an instinctive football player,” Philbin said. “He picks things up well. I think he reads coverages quickly and accurately, he has a knack of finding a way to get open, and so far he has displayed very good hands. He’s off to a very good start.”
On Sunday, the fans showed their approval after Landry displayed some speed by beating Will Davis and the Dolphins secondary for a long reception from Tannehill in a 7-on-7 drill. After making the catch, he kept running until he entered the middle of a linemen drill on the other end of the field.
At 5-11 and 205 pounds, Landry does not have the size or speed of a prototypical receiver, but he still manages to get the job done.
Landry’s biggest obstacle this season might be the other receivers on the roster, as the position is one of the team’s deepest. Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline lead a group that includes Rishard Matthews, Armon Binns and Damian Williams, all of whom have experience starting in the NFL, as well as converted running back Marcus Thigpen.
Brandon Gibson will contribute, too, though he is still limited by last season’s knee injury at this point.
For now, though, Landry said the depth benefits him.
“It’s definitely a high level of competition in that room with each and every guy, and that’s one of the things that I thrive on,” he said. “Those guys push each other and compete and also help each other get better.
“You take bits and pieces from each and every guy, and every guy in that room has taught me something.”