How’s this for life coming at you fast?
Three weeks ago, Matt Moore barely knew who DeVante Parker was.
Now, after just a handful of light practices together, the Dolphins’ backup quarterback has a full scouting report on his team’s newest wide receiver.
“Very smooth,” Moore said at Friday’s Fins Weekend golf outing. “Kind of a quiet kid, a big frame. Somebody I think we’re all looking forward to working with. I know Ryan [Tannehill] and him were already grinding away. It’s good to see. He seems like a good kid and, hopefully, he can blossom into other things.”
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The Dolphins certainly need him to. They’ve basically junked their entire receiver depth chart this season, going younger, cheaper — and, the organization hopes, more agreeable.
Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson are all gone, taking their bloated salaries and personal motivations to Minnesota, Cleveland and New England, respectfully.
They’re replaced by Parker, Kenny Stills and Greg Jennings — a gutsy overhaul seen as a leap of faith for a team whose coach and general manager are in a must-win situation this fall.
Said former Dolphin star Mark Clayton: “Hopefully [Parker’s] going to do well on the other side of Mr. [Jarvis] Landry and have a nice duo, like we had in the old days.”
It won’t come easy. Timing and trust don’t develop overnight. That’s why these spring workouts are so critical for Miami’s skill position players. Their receiving room lost 135 catches and 13 touchdowns from last season.
“It was tough to see some guys go, but I think that room is energized and ready to go, and we’re expecting big things,” Moore said. “I think, during an NFL year, you’re going to have some low points, obviously. As far as our chemistry, I think we were battling, just like and any other team.
“We lost some tough games, which I think can take a toll on your emotions or whatever. I think our chemistry was right where it needs to be. We’ve got good guys on the offensive side of the ball. We’ve added good guys. I think, just like any other NFL team, we were battling, trying to climb our way out of any tough situation we were in, and moved forward. But I think chemistry was good.”
Perhaps with one notable exception: Rishard Matthews, who wants to be traded or released after figuring out that he will probably again spend much of the coming season on the bench.
That highlights the downside of the Dolphins’ aggressive moves at receiver: There probably aren’t enough passes to make everyone happy.
“I think this is the time to work it out, and it’s the same for every other NFL team,” Moore said. “It’s a matter of how much time you put in outside of your team sessions. I think the group of quarterbacks we have and the group of wide receivers that we have, we want it pretty bad, so it’s been good and we’re putting in the work. It can be difficult, but it’s been smooth so far.”