A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Friday:
▪ It’s the May before DeVante Parker’s fourth NFL season, and the Dolphins are again waiting and wondering to see if this is finally the season he puts it all together.
His coach apparently is happy with him. But one former Dolphins receiver wishes Parker would take him up on his offer to do more.
Former Pro Bowl receiver Chris Chambers, who runs Chamber Fitness in Davie — a facility that has trained a bunch of NFL players and many others — said he has reached out to Parker “several times to offer my assistance to speed up his growth curve” but never heard back.
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“He was even seeing my secret weapon Dr. Peter Marciante Chiro [an extremity expert] to help with his health but he didn’t stay consistent to see the benefits through the course of an NFL season,” Chambers said. “Just a couple visits….
“Guys like AB [Antonio Brown] pride themselves on keeping themselves in top condition with nutrition therapy and training, plus adequate rest and recovery tools. When it gets to [the] season, it’s way easier when you take it to that level. NFL is a shorter career and you should do everything possible to prolong it. I don’t think he has developed a consistent routine and the right team of doctors and trainers to help him get to that level. I would love to offer that plus my guidance.”
Chambers said: “I don’t know if he fully gets what it means to be a pro. [Athleticism] and talent only last so long. Hard work, dedication and technique will take you a longer way when you add it on top of talent.”
Coach Adam Gase, who was critical of Parker's diet and routine earlier in their Dolphins tenures, said he likes what he has seen recently.
“He’s done a great job so far this offseason,” Gase told The Audible, a Dolphins podcast. “He’s really been one of the guys that has
tried to do things on his own. He doesn’t need someone to hold his hand and take him here and say eat like this and do this. He’s doing
things on his own. And that comes with maturity, too. He was drafted young. And he’s been doing it now. This is his fourth season.
“Sometimes it takes a second to say, ‘OK I know how to do this. And I’ve been doing it. And I don’t need someone to tell me I need to do this.’ I think he has more of a purpose when he comes out on the field.”
Perhaps this is the season Parker puts it all together.
But the onus is on him.
“He’s had a little bad luck,” Gase told The Audible. “We felt like things were going really well last year. He had a really good camp.
Things were really trending in the right direction. And then he gets the ankle. And it was legitimate. He had a high ankle sprain, which
anybody who moves around knows, it’s hard. You’re not working in a phone booth. You have to be able to move. You have to be able to defend yourself. You have to be able to jump. Accelerate.
“And it’s a tough one to come back from. And I’ll say this: He proved it to me the year before when he had the back. He’ll play through pain. It’s just as a play caller you’re trying to figure out where is he at, what can he do. There are a lot of things that go into that. When you see him on the field and in your mind when he’s 100 percent you throw a lot of things out the window and you’re saying just get it to him. It doesn’t matter what you call. It doesn’t matter how many guys are on him. Just get him the ball. And when he gets banged up then you’re trying to measure, like, where is he at, really?”
Parker last season was just 52nd in the NFL in both receptions (57) and yards (670), 66th in yards per catch (11.8) and tied for 160th in touchdown catches (one). During one dreadful stretch over a couple games, four passes thrown to him were intercepted, with Parker and Jay Cutler sharing blame.
▪ The Dolphins made one roster move this week: On Friday, they signed center Mike Matthews, who went undrafted out of Texas A&M in 2016, spent training camp that year with the Cleveland Browns, and spent last season sidelined after being inured in preseason with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Matthews, who started 33 games at Texas A&M, is the son of Hall of Fame lineman Bruce Matthews and brother of Falcons offensive tackle Jake Matthews.
▪ As has been widely reported, the Dolphins believed they needed to improve their locker-room culture and acquire more team-first players who would buy in, be diligent about studying and preparation, and do things the way the staff wanted. The Dolphins believe roster changes have improved that culture.
But Ryan Tannehill apparently didn’t see any big culture problems to begin with.
“I don’t think we had a bad culture,” he said. “I think the guys that we brought in have already bought in and now we’re fully aligned and we can just drive forward. I think that’s a big factor in the performance of teams is everyone being on the same page.”
Safety Reshad Jones, by contrast, said Thursday that the team’s culture has improved.
▪ Tannehill said while he was sidelined last season with his knee injury, he gained an even greater understanding of what Gase wants from him.
“We’re still ironing out little things here and there but most of the time, I know exactly what he wants when a play comes in,” Tannehill said. “I learned a lot last year, not only offense-wise but just watching guys operate and how the course of a season goes up and down, and how to deal with guys. I would never choose to be in that situation but I think I learned a lot that’s going to help me for the rest of my career.”
▪ Linebacker Raekwon McMillan, in his first public comments since sustaining a knee injury in the preseason opener last August, said Thursday he helped lure new Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker to Ohio State.
“I recruited him to Ohio State, so it just kind of feels good again to have him back with me here so I can teach him a little bit of what I know,” McMillan said.
Baker was watching Black Panther in a movie theater on Friday night, April 27, when the Dolphins drafted Baker in the third round.
“I was tweeting from the movies,” McMillan said. “Everybody saw me tweeting but I was in the movies and the people beside me were getting mad because I was on the phone the whole time.”
So what are the Dolphins getting in Baker?
“Some games I played in him with — Oklahoma, at Oklahoma, at Wisconsin — he really played some ball in those games,” McMillan said. “When we played the team up north — that’s Michigan — I think I had like 19 tackles or something like that [actually 15 tackles with an interception] and he was right behind me with like 18 [actually 16]. He was out there balling.
“From then on, I knew he had a chance. Personally, I thought he was going to be an early second-round pick; but they had circumstances last year at Ohio State that made him drop down a little bit. He’s definitely a good ball player.”
▪ How much guaranteed money a team gives an undrafted rookie provides insight into not only how coveted that player was after the draft, but what the team thinks of that player.
So it’s notable that the undrafted free agent who apparently received the most guaranteed money from the Dolphins was playmaking Utah State cornerback Jalen Davis, who received a $20,0000 signing bonus and another $25,000 guaranteed, regardless of whether he makes the team or not.
Davis had 11 career interceptions in college, including five last season. He stripped Danny Amendola after a reception in this week’s only practice open to the media.
The Dolphins also gave a $10,000 signing bonus to Michigan undrafted rookie linebacker Mike McCray and guaranteed another $12,000 of his salary regardless of whether he makes the team or not.