DAVIE — The words were barely out of the questioner’s mouth and Ryan Tannehill began to answer.
“Who are a few players who made the most growth and progress this spring?” I asked.
“DeVante,” Tannehill said. “Definitely DeVante.”
Is there anyone whose opinion on the subject matters more than #17, the man throwing Parker the ball?
Not even coach Adam Gase. Obviously not you or I, and I witnessed Parker make exciting catch after catch this spring.
“I think coming into OTA’s, DeVante was a guy that had been on our radar,” Tannehill said over the weekend. “He came back healthy. He’s been struggling with his foot and hamstring his first two years. And he finally got healthy over the offseason. And starting in March, I got to see his explosiveness. Straight-line speed. In and out of his breaks. Unbelievable. Obviously he’s always had the range, the hands, now he’s been fine-tuning his route running. It’s been really fun for me to sit back and say you know this guy is really improving and could take a big step this year. If we can keep him healthy.”
Health is always the caveat.
But Gase even noted that Parker is coming a bit out of his shy shell in meetings and around teammates.
Parker hasn’t said much since his arrival. He’s a soft-spoken guy.
But he can be an absolute thoroughbred on the football field.
Parker has shown he can make all the catches — long bombs, medium-range sideline grabs, yards-after-catch screens.
And guess what Parker has earned in the past few months?
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I mentioned to Tannehill that not many may realize that Parker had more catches (56) and receiving yards (744) than Kenny Stills (42 and 726), who earned a mega-deal in the offseason.
And Parker played in 15 games, starting 8, while Stills started and played all 16.
This is not a knock on Stills, who led the team with nine receiving touchdowns.
It’s to show that biggest reason some wonder if Parker will be a bust is his inability to stay healthy, not his inability as a football player.
As for Parker’s numbers? They’re going to grow.
Take note millions of American fantasy football players.
They’re going to grow. Like Parker.
My source? Tannehill.
“I think you’re going to see that continue to grow,” he said. “We got to see (Parker) start to build that confidence last year, going up to make a few plays. I think of the play in San Diego, when I scrambled an threw it up and he goes up and gets it. One at home against Arizona or San Francisco, ended up being incomplete because he stepped on the line. But he makes big plays. You got to see some of his play-making ability. As his confidence grows he’s only going to continue to make more of those.”
There were a few others who showed growth for the Miami Dolphins’ offense this spring.
Leonte Carroo looks much, much faster and committed.
Jay Ajayi seems to be improved as a receiver.
But when I asked Tannehill to name a few guys who showed the most growth and progress this spring, he named one.
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