DAVIE—The Dolphins believe they’ve found the kicker they need in Cody Parkey.
After three months of watching him work every day, in games and practices, special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi said he’s been exactly what they hoped he’d be when they chose him over Andrew Franks at the start of the season.
“He’s really been what we expected: He’s a consistent guy, he’s got a great approach, he has a professional approach,” Rizzi said. “He’s a very good self-evaluator and a lot of times, it might sound simple; but as a kicker, that’s a big thing. He’s got a great demeanor.
“He’s been consistent since he got into the league, and hopefully that continues. I’ve had a pleasure working with him. He’s been really good, not only in the field goal area but also on the kickoff area. We ask him to do a bunch of different things between deep kicks, short kicks, onside kicks. He’s been a great welcome addition.”
He’s been a good presence in the locker room as well. Rizzi was talking about what a good mentor long snapper John Denney has been to Parkey and punter Matt Haack, though he pointed out that The Jupiter Juggernaut already had a good grasp of what’s required as a professional when he arrived.
“For Matt, I think it’s a great thing to come in and have two guys that are really, with the approach and mentality that those two guys have, that’s really helped Matt out in his rookie season,” Rizzi said. “It’s really laid a really solid foundation for him.”
Parkey, 25, is tied for fourth in the league in field goal accuracy at 92.9 percent (he’s second in the AFC). He is 10 for 11 on kicks of 30 yards or longer, and his only miss of the season was a 50 yarder against the Ravens.
His main competition for a Pro Bowl selection is Indianapolis’ Adam Vinatieri and New England’s Stephen Gostkowski. Vinatieri leads the conference in field goal percentage at 95.7, and Gostkowski is the top vote getter as of now. Both of those have gotten many more kicks than Parkey, who has just 14 tries (he’s made 13). He’s tied for 29th in the NFL in attempts, thanks to the Dolphins’ offensive struggles.
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Parkey’s also been good on kickoffs, where Miami leads the NFL in average opponent starting position after a kickoff (the 22-yard line). Parkey is believed to be the only kicker in the league to execute two successful onsides kicks, including one he bounced along to himself and picked up for the recovery.
The one downfall for Parkey is he’s missed three extra points, though Rizzi defended one of those because of the field conditions at Hard Rock Stadium and another because it was a meaningless last-second PAT at the end of a 20-6 loss to the Jets.
“I really like his every day approach,” Rizzi said. “He knows exactly what he does. From the minute he walked in the door, he had a routine: ‘This is what I’m going to do and this is how we’re going to handle it.’ He’s really done that every step of the way, so I don’t have one stat on the top of my mind to blow you out of the water; but I know since he’s been in the league, he’s been a guy that’s made field goals, and hopefully that continues.”
Rizzi spoke well of former kicker Andrew Franks, who remains unsigned, but said there was no doubt in the Dolphins’ minds that Parkey would be better in every facet.
“I just thought we needed more consistency at the position,” Rizzi said. “Andrew Franks was a very talented kicker, (but) I thought we were just inconsistent there the last couple of years. He made some big kicks and all of that.
“What Cody has done in his career is just the same thing over and over again. It really is just that consistency thing. That’s where I thought we could make an upgrade, overall, in everything that we do: our kickoffs, our high kicks, short kicks, field goals, PATs, onsides kicks–whatever it is. I just thought it was a better overall upgrade across the board.”
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