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Dolphins QBs beware – throwing to DeVante Parker can be dangerous

Roy Cummings

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Some stats just make you shake your head. This one should make Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler think about turning his head every time he thinks about throwing the ball to wide receiver DeVante Parker.

Parker, as we’ve noted here previously, has regressed this year. He has especially regressed in the past few games as five of the last nine passes thrown his way have wound up in the other team’s hands.

That’s an unconscionable number and it’s not all a result of Cutler or Matt Moore making bad throws. In fact, it’s just as often been the result of Parker’s lack of effort or inattentiveness that those picks have occurred.

For example, there was a critical moment during the Dolphins 35-17 loss to the Patriots a couple weeks back when the Dolphins were trailing 21-10 but rallying until Moore tried to hit Parker in the end zone.

Moore’s pass was a bit underthrown, but not so much that Parker couldn’t have adjusted and made a play on the ball had he been paying attention, which he clearly wasn’t.

So while Parker kept on running as if he wasn’t the intended target, cornerback Stephone stepped in front of him and picked off Moore’s pass without any battle for the ball at all from Parker.

That’s just one of several examples, and it’s become a real problem for the Dolphins, who have become much more pass-oriented since they traded running back Jay Ajayi.

That makes sense. After all, their best players on offense are their receivers and Parker is, or was supposed to be, one of them which is why coach Adam Gase has no plans to stop targeting him.

“We’re going to keep working to get his confidence back to where it was,’’ said Gase, who thought Parker was on the verge of breaking out of his slump a week ago but found out different.

“Yeah, I thought he had a really good week at practice (last week) and so I was a little bit surprised that we really couldn’t get him going this last game.

“I really felt going into the game that we had all three guys in a good place, plus the tight ends and the backs. I was really feeling good about it. We just couldn’t get anything going to DeVante.’’

Funny, but maybe that’s why they won.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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