Armando Salguero

A different DeVante Parker bursts through in an open practice; PLUS notes

Fins' Gase talks to reporters after OTAs

Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase talks to reporters after OTAs on June 8, 2017.
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Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase talks to reporters after OTAs on June 8, 2017.

One second left. The offense has the ball on the 1-yard line and the defense knows the final play of this drive is going to be a pass because a noncontact OTA practice in June isn’t going to be decided by a Jay Ajayi belly play.

So Ryan Tannehill takes the shotgun snap and fires to the right front pylon of the end zone.

And DeVante Parker, matched one-on-one against cornerback Byron Maxwell, dives as he keeps his two feet inbounds. And he catches the pass.

One-handed.

Touchdown.

The Nick Saban Memorial Bubble where the Dolphins are practicing erupts in shouting and energy and bedlam.

Offensive players rush Parker as he gets up. And this:

Parker rushes at Maxwell, bodies him up as he did during the touchdown play, and gets facemask to facemask to talk smack to the veteran cornerback.

I am standing two feet from this scene, and there is energy and a tinge of violence coming from Parker.

And I’m wondering, who is this guy?

Because that doesn’t look or feel like the DeVante Parker I have seen the past two seasons.

Miami Dolphins DeVante Parker recounts his catch in the final seconds of the game to score the winning touchdown as they defeat the Los Angeles Rams, November 20, 2016

“I saw the throw, and I wasn’t sure he was going to get there,” Gase said of Parker. “Since I’ve been around him, the more you’re around him he’ll open up. He’s understanding how we run the program and how he fits in. It’s been really good to see, especially this spring, he’s not afraid to ask questions. He’s not afraid to do a little trash talking with the DBs.

“It’s good. I think it’s a good thing. The more he opens up, I think it’s a good thing. ... He just has to keep getting better. There’s a lot of room for him to grow. He’s made a lot of strides this spring. You’re seeing a guy go full speed every day. It’s been impressive. He’s really done a good job of learning the offense better than what he knew it last year. He comes out to practice every day, and he’s not taking anything for granted. Every day he’s been out there, he’s really grinding.

“From the time he steps on the field until the time we have to get off the field, he’s doing something. It’s been a pleasure too see.”

I reported last month Parker is the most improved player on the Dolphins this offseason. But this play seemed to show a more enthusiastic and fiery Parker.

For a player who has been low-key and almost understated in the past, this is notable to see.

For the Dolphins, this is good to see.

DOLPHINS-EAGLES PRACTICES

The Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles will hold joint two practices prior to their Aug. 24 preseason game in Philadelphia.

The practices were announced by the Eagles on Thursday morning.

This means the Dolphins will likely leave early in the week — perhaps as early as Monday — and be in Philadelphia for several days before the game.

The Dolphins and Eagles will not be having dual training camp practices, as the NFL collective bargaining agreement has effectively ended that. But the teams will match strengths (and weaknesses) for those practice dates at least once daily.

Kiko Alonso
Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015. Winslow Townson AP

This week will be nostalgic for Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso and cornerback Byron Maxwell. Both were traded from the Eagles to the Dolphins in 2016.

The Dolphins have practiced with other teams before — as recently as 2015 when they visited the Carolina Panthers.

“We wanted to do it last year, we just couldn’t find the right match,” Gase said. “It’s something that our front office and their front office talked about. ... We felt it would be beneficial to our players to go, get out of our environment and play against some different guys. My experience has been it’s always been very helpful because you get a lot out of practice. It has a game feel to it. There’s a great speed at practice.”

THIS AND THAT

Receiver Kenny Stills and left tackle Laremy Tunsil were held out of practice Thursday with injuries.

Defensive end Cameron Wake and running back Damien Williams were excused from practice.

Former Oregon, Eagles and San Francisco 49ers coach Chip Kelly was at practice Thursday. He has been visiting with Gase.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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