During the past three games, five passes thrown to Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker have been caught by the opposing team - just one fewer than the number of passes Parker has caught during that stretch.
And Parker isn’t happy about it.
“I've been playing badly,” Parker said at his locker-room in an interview with The Miami Herald on Wednesday. “Haven't been playing how I should be the past few games. I've got to pick it up.”
So why is this happening to the former first-round draft pick?
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“No clue,” he said. “I have no idea. Just have to pick it up.”
Parker said he’s healthy and that no injury is contributing to his struggles.
“My ankle is fine,” he said. “Just have got to bring it up these next few games. Finish off the regular season and see what happens after that.”
This is the worst stretch of Parker’s career, with a combined six receptions for 36 yards over the past three games and just one catch for six yards in each of the past two games. Plus, he believes he could have broken up all of the interceptions throw in his direction.
“I could have done something on all of them,” he said. “Just try to come back and break it up or bat it out of the defender's hand.”
The message from coaches, Parker said, is “if I can’t get it, don’t let someone else get it.”
Teammates and coaches have tried a combination of tough love and encouragement.
Asked if he encourages Parker or challenges him, quarterback Jay Cutler said: “Both. Everything. We're trying to get everything we can out of him. Challenge him after the game, encourage him today. It's going to come. It's not something that won't happen for him. It's not something where I think he's playing bad. We want more. He wants more. We just need to keep encouraging him down the right path...
“We've got to get him believing in himself and using his talents because he's an immensely talented dude. Good kid. Wants to do it right. Just finding ways to keep him confident. He's very approachable. He's not a confrontational dude. No real big ego there. He just wants to do it right and be a good to great player."
Parker has 36 receptions for 414 yards (an 11.1 per catch average) and one touchdown in nine games, though he missed nearly all of one of those games with the ankle injury that sidelined him for three additional games.
That’s well below his numbers last season: 56 catches for 744 yards (13.3 average) and four touchdowns in 15 games.
In all, it has a disappointing season for a player that offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen predicted would be a “monster” this season.
Seven Dolphins missed practice, with several of them in danger of missing Monday’s home game against New England.
Guard Jermon Bushrod (foot), backup quarterback Matt Moore (foot) and running back Damien Williams (shoulder) remain out with injuries that sidelined them this past Sunday. Coach Adam Gase indicated Moore would miss Monday’s game, and Bushrod said he’s not sure when he will play.
Cornerback Cordea Tankersley, who left the Denver game with ankle and shoulder injuries, and safety Michael Thomas (knee) also did not practice. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (knee) and defensive end Cameron Wake (no injury) did not practice but are considered likely to play Monday.
Defensive tackle Davon Godchaux (knee) and center Mike Pouncey (hip) were limited, but Pouncey has been given days to rest his hip throughout the season.