Miami Dolphins

DeVante Parker had 10 catches in October; what’s holding him back?

Getting open hasn’t been DeVante Parker’s problem. Catching the ball has.
Getting open hasn’t been DeVante Parker’s problem. Catching the ball has.

Wide receiver DeVante Parker has battled a hamstring injury all season. The Dolphins haven’t hid that; they’ve listed that issue on their injury report the last two days.

But there’s more to the story. While Parker’s hamstring issue isn’t keeping him out of games or practices, it’s definitely stunting his development.

Parker, Miami’s first-round pick in 2015, has caught just 15 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown in his last five games. The Dolphins envisioned far more before the season began. And on Thursday, offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen blamed Parker’s health, at least partially.

“I don't think he's been healthy,” Christensen said. “I don't think he's been 100 percent. There's something about just not feeling great. It's hard to play that position when you're not feeling great.”

If this was most anyone else on the Dolphins’ roster, it would be a non-story. Every player in the NFL has some sort of ailment this time of year.

But Parker is different. He missed much of his rookie season with a foot injury that required two surgeries. Plus Dolphins coaches have called out Parker’s poor off-field habits and have stressed with him the need to play through discomfort.

Parker has -- but apparently not well enough.

“I think he has a chance to be a great player,” Christensen said. “He's very talented. I do think it's one of those where you don't feel good for a couple of days early in the week. That's no fun. You're in the training room, you're getting treatment, you're having to watch your reps at practice. Some of it's just learning to play.”

Christensen did say that Parker is improving in practice. The next step is translating that work into catches. In the last two games, he’s dropped a touchdown pass and lost a bomb in the sun.

“I think he's going to be fine,” Christensen said. “I really do think he's going to be fine and is going to have some big, big days in this second half of the season.”

▪  The Dolphins did not practice Thursday, but had to submit an injury report with an estimate as if they did. There were no changes from Wednesday’s report. Tight end Jordan Cameron and cornerback Xavien Howard did not practice and aren’t expected to play Sunday against the Jets.

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

Related stories from Miami Herald