Hopes are high in South Beach with the Miami Dolphins one offseason removed from their first postseason appearance in eight years.
Count offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen as one Dolphin buying into the optimism. On Saturday, the coach predicted a huge 2017 for one of Miami’s former first-round selections, DeVante Parker.
“I really think the lifestyle and routine is better,” Christensen told reporters of Parker’s off-field situation, per the Palm Beach Post. “Sometimes when those young guys come into this thing, it takes them a while to fall into the routine of what it takes to put your body in position, sleep, eating, practicing and being able to make it through a 16-game season, especially for a receiver where you’re just running so much.
“All those things have gotten better for him, and I think they’ll all combine for him having a great year this year. I really think he’ll have a great, big year — a gigantic year for us. That would be huge.”
Parker was Miami’s second-leading receiver in 2016, tallying 56 catches on 87 targets for 744 yards and four touchdowns. The wideout’s production through two seasons hasn’t yet validated his status as a first-round pick in 2015, but might a second year in Adam Gase’s system open up some opportunities for the big-bodied receiver?
Miami saw glimpses of Parker’s potential in a dynamic fourth-quarter performance against the Rams in Week 11. But Gase also said this offseason that, for Parker to stay in his good graces, he has to start coming into meetings on time, being consistent in his work ethic and acting like a professional football player.
The former 14th-overall selection has a looming prove-it year ahead of him. Can Parker live up to his O.C.’s expectations with a fifth-year option on the line?
“We’re kinda seeing what we were hoping to see, and that’s a healthy DeVante Parker — he’s running better than I’ve seen him run since I’ve been here — and a hungry DeVante Parker,” Christensen added. “He’s been around a lot more than last year. He’s practicing hard. He’s kinda zeroed in on this thing. We are seeing what we wanted to see out of him.”