Receiver DeVante Parker, who has missed only three games in his first two seasons but has battled foot, back and hamstring problems, said this is the healthiest he has felt since he arrived in Miami and he’s ready to erupt.
“You feel like no one can guard you,” he said. “I feel like I can go up and attack every ball. I don’t think anyone can get it from me. I just go up and high point it. And that’s the way it goes.”
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill said before finally being healthy this spring, Parker was like a Ferrari with four flat tires.
“There were a lot of things limited,” Parker said. “I couldn’t do certain routes like I wanted to because I couldn’t run at full speed. That was bothering me. I knew this offseason I had to work on it and get my legs stronger.”
He said his work ethic has improved and so has his daily diet, which includes pears, potatoes, salad and some type of meat.
The transformation “started last year, when he got on that schedule that [receivers coach] Shawn Jefferson put together,” coach Adam Gase said. “He went off on his own and worked with guys who help him with his running.
“The way he practices [now], you can tell, it looks the same as it does in the game for the most part. You can tell when he comes out to practice, you’re getting full go the whole practice. And really I feel like that’s one of the main reasons why there is good timing going on with him and Ryan.”.
Gase said that “watching him in that last period [on Saturday], they’re running a lot of plays and he looks like he’s not even close to being tired. He accelerated on a scramble and the guy is in really phenomenal shape right now, and I think he realizes what he needed to do to get the body to that point …
“He understands leverages of [defensive backs] a lot better than last year. The thing that makes him unique from a mental aspect is he never gets frustrated. If he goes a long time without a target, he doesn’t get down about it. Sometimes it takes guys a few years to [get to that point].”
Said cornerback Byron Maxwell: “DeVante, he almost got two amazing catches a day. To be honest with you, we need that guy to step up. We need that guy to be guy we think he can be, for his team to take that next level, for everybody to explode on that offense. If he’s that guy, and he’s making the buttons work, we’re going to be hard to stop.”
▪ Raekwon McMillan continued to get first-team snaps at middle linebacker Saturday, with Kiko Alonso shifted to the outside. Gase said that move outside, which isn’t necessarily permanent, is “not a hard adjustment for [Alonso]. A lot of times, it’s see ball, get ball. Second year in the system. He’s very comfortable. Him being back there is a familiar place for him. If Kiko stays in the defense and does his thing, he should be very productive.”
Alonso picked Tannehill on Saturday, his second interception in three days of camp.
▪ Receiver Isaiah Ford, the rookie seventh-round receiver, was held out of practice with a swollen knee. Gase said the team was awaiting more information but didn’t believe it was serious.
▪ Cornerback Cordrea Tankersley, who left practice Friday after Gase said he got a “little overheated,” returned and made three pass breakups.
▪ Cornerback Alterraun Verner, who intercepted Matt Moore on Saturday, said he’s splitting time evenly between the boundary and the slot.
“I thought they would do me more at one than the other,” he said. “They put a lot on my plate. I appreciate it.”
Verner said Thurday’s practice “was the first time I put a helmet and pads on since Jan. 1. I sense some rust but slowly but surely I’m picking it up.”
▪ Undrafted Temple rookie defensive end Praise Martin-Oguike made a couple of nice plays, including a sack.
▪ Rookie defensive end Charles Harris stopped a Damien Williams run in the backfield.
▪ Former UM rookie receiver Malcolm Lewis had a great catch, elevating for a ball thrown by Brandon Doughty.
Here’s my Saturday post on the impressive measures Jakeem Grant has taken to improve....Twitter: @flasportsbuzz