Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver Devonte Parker talks about his return
Barring a health setback, the Dolphins intend to have receiver DeVante Parker active for the first time this season on Sunday, according to a source.
Parker has been sidelined with a broken right middle finger, an injury sustained in an Aug. 12 practice, and said he wasn’t told if he will play Sunday against the visiting Oakland Raiders. But the plan is for Parker to be active unless there’s a setback during Friday’s practice.
The Dolphins put Parker on the inactive list against the Jets, even though he said he was healthy enough to play.
Coach Adam Gase explained that decision to Parker this way: “He told me he didn’t want to hurt it [more],” Parker said. “Get an extra couple days to make sure the hands get enough rest. I was OK with that.”
Does it feel that much better now? “It actually does,” he said. “Big difference.”
How antsy is he to play? “Very high,” he said. “I’m ready to go out there and get going.”
Asked to assess where Parker stood before the injury, Gase said: “Mentally he was good as far as all of the stuff we were doing. I know he didn’t feel like training camp was going as smooth as he wanted it to be. I think he was hoping he would make more plays in practice on some of those 50/50 balls, but a lot of the other things were really good with what we were working on.
“I feel like he’s in a good place right now. I love how his attitude has been since he’s been back practicing. His energy level and his legs look great, as far as running. He’s had a good four days when he’s practiced.”
Of a receiving corps also featuring Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola, Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant, Parker said: “We can be great. Everyone has different traits they bring to the table. Coach is going to find some way to utilize that and find a way to pick defenses apart.”
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said Parker “will have plays like the rest of them do and coverage will dictate where the ball goes. The length; he can run; he’s big — that’s the thing he brings.”
THIS AND THAT
Safety Reshad Jones (shoulder) practiced on a limited basis Thursday, which Gase called “a positive step for us. I know how he feels about making sure that he’s there every Sunday. We just want him to take the proper steps and listen to the trainers. If the body parts are working, he’s going to do everything he can to be on the field.”
▪ Safety Maurice Smith, signed to the 53-man roster this week, said his Labor Day weekend demotion to the practice squad was “a humbling experience. One week you think you are there and then you take a step back. I was surprised, but coaches made the right decision.”
He said he was told his release was a byproduct of a numbers game and not a reflection of any shortcoming. “I knew I should have been here the whole time,” he said.
With Jones dealing with a shoulder injury, Smith said he took a few first-team reps — alongside T.J. McDonald – on Thursday.
▪ Gase indicated the fact rookie running back Kalen Ballage has been inactive the first two games is no reflection of a shortcoming. He’s caught up in a numbers game, with the Dolphins instead keeping active Brandon Bolden and Sinorise Perry, who excel on special teams, along with top backs Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore.
“I talk to [Ballage] quite a bit, almost every day at practice,” Gase said. “I try to give him a few words here and there to just remind him [to] just keep doing what you are doing because he’s done a great job in practice every day.”
▪ Burke said Chase Allen started at linebacker ahead of Jerome Baker against the Jets because Allen’s size was helpful in the particular package the Dolphins opened in, but that he could have played Baker more. Allen played seven snaps and Baker 15.
▪ The Dolphins signed former FSU tight end Nick O’Leary to their practice squad. He had 32 catches for 473 yards and two touchdowns in three seasons and 35 games with Buffalo.
“He’s an impressive guy,” said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, who attended O’Leary’s Dolphins audition at 7 a.m. Tuesday. “He made a play on a corner route [Thursday]. He’s got some size, not the longest guy. Anxious to see what he does in the run game.”