While there is no indication that either event is headed here soon, team president Tom Garfinkel said the Dolphins are pursuing both.
“We want to bring as many great events as we can to Miami, so we’ll bid on everything that’s available,” he said.
The Pro Bowl was in Hawaii for 30 years before the Dolphins hosted it in 2010. That year and 2015, the NFL held the Pro Bowl at the Super Bowl site.
The league moved it to Orlando starting in 2017 and will play the third year of that deal at the end of the upcoming season. There has been no indication what the NFL will do beyond that.
The draft has also been jumping around the country since ending a 50-year run in New York. Chicago hosted it in 2015 and ’16, Philadelphia had it last year and it will be at the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium next month.
The NFL has not awarded the 2019 draft, and the Dolphins would like to be considered.
“We put our name in the hat for all those things,” Garfinkel said.
The team is also looking to land 2026 men’s World Cup matches if a North American bid including the U.S., Canada and Mexico wins hosting rights.
That aside, Hard Rock Stadium is already set for several big events in addition to being the home field for the Dolphins and Hurricanes, the permanent site of the Orange Bowl (it’s a national semifinal this season) and the venue for the Miami Open tennis tournament beginning next year.
The 2020 Super Bowl is headed to Miami Gardens as a direct result of the hundreds of millions of dollars Stephen Ross put into the stadium, and college football’s National Championship Game is coming in 2021.
ORLANDO—There’s a lot to be decided before next season’s Pro Bowl, including where the NFL intends to hold it, but some players undoubtedly have their minds set on getting there after watching Sunday’s game.
The Dolphins were frustrated this year when safety Reshad Jones was the only one selected; receiver Jarvis Landry was added a replacement for injured all-star DeAndre Hopkins. Among the guys currently projected to be on next season’s roster, here are the ones with the best shot at playing in the 2019 game:
9. QB Ryan Tannehill Tannehill is the Dolphins’ biggest wild card after missing the end of the 2016 season and all of this one because of knee injuries. They expect him to come back strong, and if he continues the improvement he showed last season, he’ll be right in the mix. It helps his cause that the league usually invites a lot of quarterbacks because of withdrawals. Two years ago, Trevor Siemian(?) turned down an offer to play.
8. WR Kenny Stills Stills put up very good numbers the last two years and he’s just hitting the prime of his career. His chances of making the Pro Bowl for the first time would shoot up dramatically if Jarvis Landry doesn’t return to Miami, which would make Stills the team’s No. 1 receiver. He needs to get to 1,000 yards to be in consideration and has yet to exceed 931 in a season.
7. C Mike Pouncey One of Pouncey’s biggest roadblocks to getting in the Pro Bowl is his twin brother Maurkice’s excellence as a six-time selection (every season he’s been healthy). It’d help Mike a lot if the Steelers break through for a Super Bowl appearance next season. Nonetheless, if Mike’s hip continues to be strong, they still have a chance of ending up in the Pro Bowl together.
6. RB Kenyan Drake The ceiling is high for Drake in 2018, partly because of his talent and partly because Gase loves to load up the play book for dual-threat running backs. The upcoming season could be Drake’s first as a No. 1 option, depending on what the Dolphins do with Damien Williams. Over the final five games of this season, Drake led the NFL with 444 yards rushing to go with 150 as a receiver.
5. K Cody Parkey The Jupiter Juggernaut just needs more opportunities. He tied the Dolphins’ single-season record by making 91.3 percent of his field goals in his debut season, but he’s got to get more than 23 tries in 2018. He also is the only kicker in the last 20 years (and possibly ever, but this stat wasn’t tracked prior to 1997) to convert four onside kicks in a season, and he led the best kickoff coverage unit in the NFL.
4. DE Cameron Wake Wake is not to be doubted. From here on out, the assumption will be that he can keep doing this until he shows that he can’t. Many thought the ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered in 2015 would signal the end of his run as an elite pass rusher, and he followed that injury with seasons of 11.5 and 10.5 sacks. He might have made the AFC roster this year if Jacksonville had reached the Super Bowl.
3. S Reshad Jones Jones has established himself as a brand name for the voters, which is key when it comes to making perennial Pro Bowl appearances. He was picked in 2015, got off to an excellent start to the ’16 season before undergoing rotator cuff surgery and was voted in as a starter this year. When he’s been on the field the last three seasons, he’s been a game changer.
2. DT Ndamukong Suh Suh’s not done, and this year indicated it might be a while before he shows any signs of decline. At 31, he goes into the upcoming season among the most feared defensive tackles in the NFL. He was one of the most stunning Pro Bowl snubs in the league this year, prompting Gase to say, “I don’t understand that one… To me, that guy should be penciled in before they even start voting. He’s that dominant of a player.”
1. WR Jarvis Landry Landry’s a good bet to make next season’s Pro Bowl, but the mystery is what helmet he’ll be wearing. After 400 catches, 4,038 yards, 22 touchdowns and three Pro Bowl selections in the first four years of his career, he’s a pending free agent who will be in high demand if the Dolphins let him walk.
ORLANDO—Even with the rain drenching him throughout the game and uncertainty about his future with the Dolphins brewing, this was far too fantastic of a day for Jarvis Landry to let any of that ruin his mood at the Pro Bowl.
The adrenaline kept pulsing through Landry as he ran off the field following the AFC’s 24-23 comeback victory and he couldn’t stop talking about how much he enjoyed the afternoon at Camping World Stadium.
“Man, this is probably the most fun Pro Bowl I’ve ever been a part of, especially the way it came down to the end,” he said. “I can’t say enough about getting to play with these teammates. You got a chance at the end to see greatness by Delanie Walker, who’s elite, and then Von Miller on the next series doing what he does best, man.”
Landry walked toward the locker room holding his Dolphins helmet in his right hand knowing it might be the last time he wears it. If Miami doesn’t reach a new deal with him or use a tag to retain him for next season, he will hit the open market in March.
“I ain’t worried about that today,” he said.
What Landry preferred to discuss was being on the field in the final minutes when Oakland’s Derek Carr hit Walker for the go-ahead touchdown pass. He was also jumping around the sideline when Miller ended the game with a strip-sack of Jared Goff.
It went a lot better for Landry than last year’s game, when he didn’t have any catches. This time, he caught five for 78 yards.
His best play was a 49-yard catch down the right sideline off the arm of Alex Smith. The guy who supposedly can’t throw the deep ball connected with the guy who supposedly isn’t a deep threat. Ask Minnesota cornerback Xavier Rhodes if he believes those perceptions after getting burnt by the Smith-Landry duo for the longest play of the game.
Just as he is with the Dolphins, Landry was a favorite among the AFC quarterbacks all week. That was partly because he refused to treat this like an exhibition game.
“He’s super competitive, and him and I are similar in that way,” Carr said. “We love to compete. He’s somebody that takes football seriously all the time. If we would’ve lost this game, that would’ve hurt him. Jarvis is my guy. I love him. I love playing with him.”
Miami safety Reshad Jones noticed Landry going hard, too, and grinned knowingly as he said, “That’s all he knows. He goes 100 percent all the time. That’s just him.”
Jones and Landry were the only Dolphins selected to the Pro Bowl this year, with Jones being voted a starter and Landry making it as an injury replacement. This is their second and third appearance, respectfully.
As they stood together on the platform for pre-game introductions, there was a shared respect for what each man had done to reach this point. Landry praised Jones for fighting back from rotator cuff surgery, and Jones said he knew his teammate would get here because he’s seen him “working his butt off throughout the year.”
It’s possible, of course, this will end being their final time working together. Jones is on a long-term deal, but there’s a lot to be determined when it comes to Landry’s situation.
“I think it’ll work out in his favor,” Jones said. “He’s a baller no matter what happens. If he’s with Miami or somewhere else, everything will work out for him.”
Reshad Jones and Jarvis Landry took the field for Sunday’s Pro Bowl with all the enthusiasm and flash that’s endeared them to South Florida, thoroughly enjoying themselves despite a downpour throughout the AFC’s 24-23 win at Camping World Stadium, and—even in an exhibition game—reminded everyone why they’re indispensable.
Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh remain gigantic stars for the Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill is always going to be in the spotlight and Kenyan Drake might ultimately put himself in their tier as well. But Jones and Landry already embody everything the Dolphins want to be known for and should be around for many years to come.
It was a big day for Jones after missing most of last season due to a shoulder injury and having to push through months of rehabilitation to get himself back to the top. He immediately resumed his position as arguably the most dangerous player on Miami’s defense and put up a season of 122 tackles and three fumble recoveries, including two he returned for touchdowns.
The trip to Orlando isn’t a big deal for everyone, especially guys who know they’ll be here every year, but Jones wasn’t so nonchalant. Seeing the fans, his peers and the coaches vote him as a Pro Bowl starter was a landmark in his career.
“I’m embracing the moment,” said Jones, who had two tackles. “It feels good to be out there with the best of the best, man. It shows all my hard work and dedication was not in vain. People are watching.”
On the NFC’s opening series, Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph caught a 16-yard pass in the red zone, and Jones couldn’t help himself. He clawed vigorously hoping to strip the ball from him until the official blew the whistle.
Predictably, Landry was just as intense. He caught a 7-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger late in the first quarter, already making it a better experience than his catch-less night a year ago, and broke into an all-out sprint down the right sideline to catch a 49-yarder from Alex Smith in the second. He finished with five catches for 78 yards.
It’s probably been an illuminating week for Landry as he’s practiced with Roethlisberger, Smith and Derek Carr while hanging out with some of the biggest, most highly paid stars in the league. Many of the other skill players here, including some of his closest friends, have already hit the enormous payday that awaits Landry in March.
Several teams should line up to hand him a massive contract after seeing what he’s done in the first four years of his career. They aren’t nitpicking his size or his speed or how neat he keeps his locker. They see a No. 1 option, regardless of him doing his work in the slot, coming off a year of 112 catches, 987 yards and nine touchdowns.
“It’s very hard,” Landry said of being elite at slot receiver. “It’s having instincts for the game… and understanding that you’re going to have to make contact catches, because you’re there in the mix.
“Another part for me is I love to block. So being in there, I get a chance to block linebackers, safeties, sometimes D-ends, which is fun for me. I don’t think a lot of guys are up for it.”
Landry’s always up for it. Good luck finding another 100-catch, 1,000-yard receiver who thinks it’s “fun” to block people like Melvin Ingram in free agency and the draft. That might take a while.
One thing he said this week was that he wants to be play for a team that loves his gritty demeanor on the field and embraces the personality he brings to the locker room. He’s said a million times he wants the Dolphins to be that organization, and it sure seemed like they were right up until it was time to talk money.
Landry hasn’t gushed about all the attractive destinations awaiting him in free agency, but must have crossed his mind this week. Imagine his numbers if he joined up with Drew Brees. Imagine his popularity in an enormous market like Chicago. Imagine the fun of playing for an emerging team like Jacksonville or San Francisco instead of the 30-34 sludge he’s endured with Miami.
If the Dolphins extended him last year or had an agreement in place this offseason, Landry wouldn’t be doing any of that wistful thinking and that dread wouldn’t be churning in their fans’ stomachs.
He’s made three Pro Bowls in four years with the team, and he’ll keep turning up here no matter what uniform he’s wearing. Jones, meanwhile, shows no sign of slowing down as he approaches his 30th birthday and is under contract through 2022.
When the NFL did player introductions by team before the game, the powerhouse Steelers had nine players on the stage. What a luxury. When it was the Dolphins’ turn, they had only Jones and Landry. If they make the right move with Landry, those two will be up there every year.
When Landry was asked Friday about perhaps getting a little too into it, he rejected that assertion.
“That goes to show you just as much passion and energy as I have for that, that’s how I play Connect Four, Tic Tac Toe,” he said. “Think about that, and how much amplified it is on a Sunday. That’s just how I am.”
So after this morning’s Pro Bowl walkthroughs, it seemed like a good time to find out whether that’s true. With Joe Schad manning the camera, Landry sat down for a quick round of Connect 4 and made such quick work of me (the time I absentmindedly played one of his chips didn’t help) that I took a jab at his upcoming free agency before storming off.
LAKE BUENA VISTA—This is a really good time to be Jarvis Landry. Really, really good.
No matter how much his pending free agency seems to be getting bogged down with the Dolphins, he’s 25, he’s surrounded by family and friends at Pro Bowl week and this phase of his career ultimately ends with him hauling in more money than he’s ever seen in his life.
He’s not stressed. He’s happy.
“I am,” he told The Post after this morning’s AFC practice. “Have you not been seeing the pictures lately? I’m smiling… This is the most important thing to me right now, and everything else will work itself out.”
This is in line with Landry’s attitude throughout the situation. When the team didn’t extend him a year ago, he shrugged it off and went to work. Going into this season without the security of a long-term deal, he was at peace.
Now, with about a month and a half until he reaches the enviable position of being able to hit the open market, he’s not going to let that be anything but positive.
If he returns to the Dolphins, great. That’s what he wants. If not, there are compelling alternatives all around the league.
“Not even so much about the possibilities, but just excited about the process and what God has been doing in my life and the blessing that’s coming,” Landry said. “It’s really put me at peace in my life. That’s really all I can say.
“Guys around here, a couple former players, just talking and chatting and, truthfully, there’s no easy way to get through this process, but at the same time, I’m understanding that what lies ahead is far greater than what has come. That’s the beautiful part about it.”
What lies ahead is a scenario in which the worst-case outcome is he gets a $14-16 million paycheck, which is what the Dolphins would pay if they use the transition or franchise tag. Otherwise, he’s looking at a long-term deal possibly worth a total of $60 million.
It’s a really, really, really good time to be Jarvis Landry.
The resolution Landry wants most is a new contract with the Dolphins, and he’s made no secret of that. While the organization hedges at every turn and says things like, “You can’t keep them all,” to quote vice president Mike Tannenbaum, he’s been saying for a year that he wants to be part of its future. He doesn’t consider negotiating leverage when he says that. He’s just telling the truth.
That loyalty means something given how much he wants to be part of a winner and how far away from that status the Dolphins (30-34) have been during his tenure.
“I love Miami,” Landry said. “I love the City of Miami. I love everything about it—the coaching staff, the fans. I was drafted there.
“In any ideal situation, just like with you, you work for The Palm Beach Post. If you’re happy being there and you’re compensated the way you’re supposed to be for the amount of work that you do, then wouldn’t you want to stay there?”
Miami safety Reshad Jones, also a Pro Bowler, said Landry seems at ease about free agency.
“I think it’ll work out for him,” he said. “Hopefully the Dolphins make it happen here pretty soon, but he’s a great player and I think everything will work out for him.”
Landry added that he has no doubt coach Adam Gase wants him back, and Gase has previously referred to Landry as the best offensive player on the team. Hard to argue after Landry racked up 400 catches, 4,038 yards and 22 touchdowns in his first four seasons. Last season, despite Miami’s brutally bad quarterback play, he set a franchise record with 112 receptions, had 987 yards and scored a career-best nine touchdowns.
Gase’s most recent comments, though, centered on Landry’s “embarrassing” ejection from the season finale and saying the team will “look at the body of work” as it ascertains how it will handle his free agency.
Then there was the issue of in-house criticism of Landry’s play and conduct leaking to the media this month, though the Dolphins say it didn’t come from them. Landry’s agent, Damarius Bilbo, said he was “alarmed” by what he perceived as disrespect toward his client and the negotiating process.
Landry surely didn’t like it, either, but he’s not holding a grudge and said his relationship with Dolphins management is good now.
“I know so,” he said. “It’s always been healthy conversations, but even in healthy conversations you have moments where you have to tell each other things or say things to get on the same page. It’s called communication. That’s all this whole process is really gonna be about and has been about.”
It seemed like 98 catches, 844 yards and eight touchdown catches would be sufficient to earn him a spot on the initial AFC Pro Bowl roster, but the voters felt otherwise and left him out in favor of Antonio Brown, Keenan Allen, A.J. Green and DeAndre Hopkins. Landry was stunned by not making the team, but has no gripe against the guys who were picked.
“I respect all those guys’ game,” he said. “It is what it is. I didn’t get in.
“That’s always been a goal of mine to make the Pro Bowl each and every year. I’m sure any player in this league feels that way. That’s an accomplishment. It sucks, but it is what it is.”
He remains hopeful to be added as an alternate. Some players will withdraw from the game if they are injured (some use an injury to get out of it) or playing in the Super Bowl.
There’s a possible opening for him when it comes to Brown, one of his close friends. Brown suffered a partially torn calf in Pittsburgh’s loss to the Patriots and has already been ruled out of the Steelers’ upcoming game against Houston.
If Brown is still ailing, or if Pittsburgh (10-3) makes the Super Bowl, that could clear a spot for Landry. It also gives Landry an advantage in trying to win the receiving title for the year. Brown, who has 101 receptions, is the only player ahead of him.
“It’s always unfortunate, but in this league things happen,” Landry said after today’s practice. “He’s a great player and he does great things for his team. The biggest concern for me, immediately after our game, was just his personal health.
“I’m sure he takes pride in catching the most balls in the league. Hopefully next year it’ll be a tighter race. We’ll get a couple guys back. We’ll get Odell (Beckham) back in the race and a couple other guys. We’re all friends, we’re all brothers at the end of the day, and that’s what it’s about. It’s about competing, but also celebrating each other’s success.”
Landry would still have to hold off New Orleans’ Michael Thomas (94) and Larry Fitzgerald (92), among others.
Landry already has the Dolphins’ single-season catch record with 110 in 2015, and followed it with 94 last year. He has four of the top seven marks in franchise history and has the NFL record for most receptions by any player in the first four years of a career (386).
DAVIE—Cody Parkey demands that you stop what you’re doing immediately and vote for him to make the Pro Bowl.
“Well, let’s see,” he said. “If you think I’ve done a good job this year, vote for me.”
Maybe demands was too strong of a word.
Anyway, the mild-mannered kicker from Jupiter has had a good year. He’s 13 for 14 on field goals, and it’s not his fault he doesn’t get more attempts. He has no control over that. The Dolphins are first in the NFL in opponent starting field position after kickoffs, and he’s believed to be the only kicker in the league to make good on two onsides kicks this year.
Back in his Dolphins debut, he walked calmly out to the middle of the field with one minute left and his team down two points and nailed a 54-yard field goal like it was nothing. The legend of The Jupiter Juggernaut was born that afternoon in Los Angeles, and now it’s time for his triumphant return to the Pro Bowl.
But he’ll have to beat out New England’s Stephen Gostkowski (leading vote getter) and Indianapolis’ Adam Vinatieri (best percentage). Fan voting ends Thursday—click here to vote—and the rosters are announced Dec. 19 for next month’s game in Orlando.
Here’s the best Parkey can do to convince you to vote for him:
Alright, go ahead sell yourself for the Pro Bowl.
“Wow, you’re putting me on the spot.”
Being surprised by someone asking you about the Pro Bowl isn’t a good start to campaigning for the Pro Bowl.
“No, it’s not… I think there’s a lot of kickers deserving of going to the Pro Bowl. Why would I want to go? Because I’m having a successful year, not only on field goals but also on kickoffs and I have a couple onsides kicks. I think overall I’m doing good things all around the board. Is that good?”
Adam Vinatieri has a higher percentage made. Discredit him. Why is Vinatieri a fraud?
It’s a simple question.
“He’s so old, come on. No, I actually got to work with Vinatieri and he’s a great dude. It’s very, very impressive that he’s doing it at that age. I can’t knock anything.”
You’re not understanding how this works.
“I’m not helping myself?”
I mean, you sound like you want Vinatieri to get picked.
“I don’t like promoting myself. I need you to promote me.’
No problem. Stephen Gostkowski, also a fraud.
“Yeah, I mean, he plays for the Patriots, so we don’t want to vote for him.”
You and Vinatieri made the Pro Bowl in the 2014 season, and you started out with him in training camp with Indy your rookie year. Was he cool?
“Just watching him and how he prepares. He’s got a routine he sticks to. I like to stick to my routine. That’s maybe something I picked up from him. I don’t do the exact same things he does, but every day this is how he starts and you can just see him. I came in there thinking, ‘I’m 22 years old, this guy is 42. I’m gonna have a bigger leg than him.’”
Wait, you thought you’d beat out Adam Vinatieri?
“I didn’t say that. I said bigger leg.”
You’re a kid and you thought you’d put Adam Vinatieri in his place.
“Now you’re putting words in my mouth. I said I thought I would have a bigger leg than him. But he was the ageless wonder and he came out there the first day booting 60-yard field goals and he was incredible.”
What was the best part of being in the Pro Bowl?
“It was cool. Obviously I was a little star struck being a rookie, undrafted, and playing with guys—Shoot, I remember Cam Wake was there. Odell Beckham, Jr. You’re practicing with these guys and you’re like, ‘Oh, do I belong here?’ I was kinda star struck. It’s really cool.”
Did anyone know you?
Did anybody hand you their dry cleaning? Or were you not allowed in the stadium?
“No, but actually, my first game here, they didn’t want to let me into breakfast. I was like, ‘I’m a player.’ They asked me, ‘What’s your number?’ I was trying to get breakfast, man, and they were like, ‘What are you going in here for?’ They wouldn’t let me in. Eventually they believed me because I was fighting hard for it. I was just trying to eat, man. That was my first home game.”
The Tennessee game? You’d been the kicker for a month already.
“But I look like I’m 12.”
Back to the Pro Bowl. It’s in Orlando this year. That’s pretty close to home.
“Yeah, but it’d be a lot of tickets. I’d have to keep it to a minimum. It would be really coo, obviously, to go to Orlando. Only two hours from Jupiter. Go to Disney World and all that good stuff. That would be fun.”
Why are you not actively campaigning for this? You have a Twitter account.
“Yeah, I do.”
Yeah, but it’s just stuff about charity events. It’s time to use it for something that matters.
“I like to use my influence in a positive way and I don’t really like to promote myself. Some guys do, and that’s awesome, but that’s just not what I do.”
You could be the kicker with guns. Like Ed “Guns” Hochuli, but of kickers.
“I’ve got The Jupiter Juggernaut and plenty of tweets by you, so I think you guys have branded me pretty good.”
Last chance to sell yourself to the voters.
“Well, let’s see. If you think I’ve done a good job this year, vote for me. But I’m not gonna sell myself. I’m just gonna keep doing my job.”
DAVIE—As Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has gotten older, he seems to be more appreciative of things like the Pro Bowl. He’s got a very good chance of making his sixth appearance this year and said it would be very meaningful to be selected.
Suh, who was chosen last year but did not attend because he was having a minor surgical procedure, said definitely he will go to the game next month if picked.
“I’d sit here and lie to you if I didn’t say I was interested in it,” he said. “I hope you voted, to say the least. You’re always curious to see how things pan out. I’m happy to see other guys make the Pro Bowl. I’m happy to see guys like Cam Wake and Reshad Jones and many other guys—(Mike) Pouncey—on this team make the Pro Bowl and be successful and get accolades for it.
“It’s just up the road. It was obviously great when it was in Hawaii. I got to take that trip over there, but Orlando, I’ve had fun up in Orlando plenty of times. There’s some cool things that I know in Orlando that I could be a part of outside of just playing football and being in that game.”
Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins is the leading vote getter in the AFC among fans, and those polls close Thursday. Players and coaches vote as well, with each component counting for one-third of the selection process.
Suh has 35 tackles, 3.5 sacks, nine quarterback hits, one pass breakup and two forced fumbles this year. Pro Football Focus ranks him the No. 4 defensive tackle in the NFL.
One reason Suh would like to go to the Pro Bowl is that he enjoys getting to have lighthearted talks with competitors. He’s not usually in the mood to joke around with guys like that during games, but the week of Pro Bowl practices provides a good social atmosphere.
“I think the biggest interactions that I enjoy is going against the other guys and being around them, at my similar position,” he said. “’I think one of the most fun times I had was interacting with like Philip Rivers and guys like that, where most of the time we’re at each other’s throats and trying to combat each other, but everything is just fun living (at the Pro Bowl).”
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.
Click here to vote for whoever you want as the AFC’s Pro Bowl kicker.
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.”