Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker says things aren’t awkward with coach Adam Gase
Stop us if you have heard this before:
Another Dolphins offseason conditioning program has come and gone, and the team’s Spring Offensive MVP was DeVante Parker.
Yes, it’s deja vu all over again for the Dolphins’ most talented, but least consistent, receiver.
Parker looked like an all-pro in Wednesday’s minicamp finale, catching two touchdowns of 60-plus yards.
And this wasn’t a fluke. He has consistently shown up all spring.
So could this possibly be the start of something new — and better — for the former first-round pick?
The ability has always been there. That’s why the Dolphins agreed to keep him around for Year 5 (and possibly 6), signing him to a two-year, $10 million extension this offseason.
But he has never had more than 57 catches, 744 yards or four touchdowns in any season as a pro.
Part of that has been because of his health. He has missed games because of foot, ankle and hamstring issues in his four-year career.
That’s not the whole story, however. He and former coach Adam Gase never seemed to click, and the relationship had reached a point that Parker’s agent felt the need to roast Gase publicly for not playing Parker last season.
“I know my ability and know what I can do when I’m healthy and what I can bring to the table,” Parker told reporters Wednesday.
Yes, but we’ve seen this before, a reporter reminded Parker. He has been a stud in the spring — having former assistant Shawn Jefferson go so far as to call him “a monster” a few years back — only to fizzle out when the pads come on.
How will this year be different?
“Staying healthy,” he responded. “That’s it. I can play.”
And he might have a quarterback who can get him the ball in a way Ryan Tannehill never could.
Ryan Fitzpatrick probably doesn’t know, and surely doesn’t care, about what happened here before.
All he cares about is winning the job and throwing to the open receiver.
Parker was open more than any other receiver this spring. And the two players have already established a chemistry. The 74-yard touchdown bomb Wednesday was proof of that.
“I told DeVante when he walked into the building today that that play when we did the two-minute drill is going to happen on the first play,” Fitzpatrick said. “He did a great job with his release and getting down the field on that one. ... I felt like he deserved the opportunity, and he ran a great route.”
Fitzpatrick added: “He’s done a nice job. Attention to detail. He does a good job tracking the ball, has a nice catching radius. He’s a big, physical guy, and he has been impressive thus far. We have a lot of work to go. There will be a lot of stuff chemistry-wise we’re just going to continue to get better at. We had a mix-up in 2-minute even, so once you think you’ve got the communication down, something like that happens. We have to be on the same page 100 percent of the time and we’ll just continue to work at it.”
They will have a chance to get on the same page when the team returns for training camp in July — and perhaps even before. Parker suggested that there will be unofficial throwing sessions during the offseason.
But first, he plans to go home to Louisville and recharge his body.
And prepare for just the latest most important season of his career.