The Miami Dolphins used their 2014 first-round draft pick on a highly touted offensive weapon. Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker was expected to give Miami their true number one receiver, someone who can open up the offense. The problem, as Parker heads into his second season with Miami, is he cannot stay healthy. The foot injury he sustained in college needed to be cleaned up before last season, a hamstring injury slowed him at the start of training camp this year, and now, another hamstring problem has him sidelined again.
“DeVante’s going to be day to day right now so we’re just going to keep working with him and strengthening him up,” head coach Adam Gase explained after Tuesday’s walkthrough.
Parker was expected to breakout this year after the frustration of last year, but he appears to be the third option on the depth chart right now, behind Jarvis Landry, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl last year, and Kenny Stills. Being once again on the sideline, Parker is not doing himself any favors, and Gase wants to make sure Parker is learning from the experience, turning more into a professional football player.
“When you’re a second-year receiver, I feel like I’ve been through this a couple of times,” Gase told reporters. “I just go back to Demaryius (Thomas), when we were in Denver. It just felt like he was always hurt. It was just one of those things, it was just like one thing after the other. The thing is, these guys, the longer they start doing this, the more they realize how much they have to take care of their body, how important it is to practice fast every day and make sure they really push themselves because now, all of a sudden, when you go to turn it on, especially on game day and your body’s not ready for it, this is when you can possibly have these kind of issues. So that’s been our point of emphasis with him is all the little tiny things that you have to do off the field, in the building, and then when you get out to practice you have to treat every day like a game. Sometimes it takes some guys a little longer to learn than others.”
The Dolphins need Parker to be available this year, and they need him playing up to his potential. To do that, Parker has to stay healthy, and Gase continued to hammer that point on Tuesday. “Eventually it gets to the point where you get tired of being the guy standing on the sideline. I do think he’s a little frustrated as far as he’s been the odd man out all the time. Kenny (Stills) and Jarvis (Landry) have been out there working together now and he’s kind of had to watch. We’ll keep working and he’ll eventually figure it out to where he knows his routine; he knows how to stay healthy. He knows how to push through certain kind of pains where it’s not going to really deter him from where he’s going to miss some games. It’s a fine line there, especially at that position. You really have to be locked into your body.”
Parker will not play in the team’s final preseason game this Thursday, but he will hopefully be available when the team opens the regular season on September 11 at the Seattle Seahawks.