Earlier this month, Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen indicated that DeVante Parker has not been healthy much of this season.
However, the last two weeks may have indicated a changing of tide for Parker’s health as he put up 103 yards in Week 10 against the Chargers and 79 yards and a touchdown last week against the Rams.
The highly touted second year prospect has shown glimpses in his first two years of why the Dolphins drafted him in the first round, but injuries and inconsistency have gotten in the way of the vision some had in their minds when he was drafted.
With that, lets take a look at DeVante Parker’s catches from Week 11 against the Rams in this week’s breakdown.
Week 11 Breakdown: DeVante Parker Could Be Turning the Corner
Dolphins: 0 Rams: 7 (1st – 5:21 – 2nd and 10)
- The Dolphins run a play action counter fake underneath with Parker on an underneath route.
- Despite the fact that he was in zone coverage and has a clean look at the quarterback, EJ Gaines doesn’t drive on Parker’s route very well. All of the Ram’s second level defenders inside the box bite on the run fake to make for an easy throw for Ryan Tannehill.
Dolphins: 0 Rams: 7 (2nd – 8:29 – 1st and 10)
- This time in man-to-man coverage, Gaines is late to drive on Parker’s underneath route.
- Because of how quickly he gets rid of the ball, Parker must have either been Tannehill’s first read, or he decided from the Rams’ pre-snap alignment that Parker would be open.
Dolphins: 0 Rams: 10 (4th – 15:00 – 3rd and 13)
- Parker disappears until this play in the fourth quarter; the Dolphins offense disappears for longer though. In the fourth, Parker totals seven catches and the game-winning touchdown.
- The Dolphins attempt to run a screen pass to Parker. They have the numbers advantage with three receivers matching up against the two closest defensive backs, but Trumaine Johnson makes a noteworthy play—makes the correct read, sheds Jarvis Landry’s block, and slows down Parker enough for secondary efforts to finish the play.
Dolphins: 0 Rams: 10 (4th – 5:14 – 1st and 10)
- The Rams come out in a classic Cover-2: notice the middle linebacker drop back deep into the secondary.
- Parker’s deep comeback is a difficult route concept for the Rams’ coverage to defend against. The safety over the top has to get enough depth to defend against a deep route by Parker, and by doing so leaves a soft spot in the zone past the second level defenders.
Dolphins: 0 Rams: 10 (4th – 4:51 – 1st and 10)
- On the very next play, the Dolphins hit Parker on an out route that, like the last play, is very difficult for the Rams to defend against with their called coverage.
- The Rams fall back into Cover-3. Notice the route combination the Dolphins run to the boundary side of the formation with Kenny Stills and Parker. Parker runs an out and Stills runs a go-route. Because Lamarcus Joyner (#20) is responsible for the flat, he has to carry Still’s route initially from the No. 2 position, which allows Parker free passage to the sideline.
Dolphins: 7 Rams: 10 (4th – 2:00 – 2nd and 12)
- The same can be said for this play as was said for the fourth video. The Rams fall back into Cover-2 and Parker finds the week part in the zone on a comeback.
- I like what the Rams do with their underneath defenders though. A common weakness in Cover-2 is that you have your middle linebacker running down the middle of the field trying to cover someone that isn’t a good matchup for him. What the Rams do here is switch their nickel back and middle linebacker. This allows the middle linebacker to cover the flat and puts the nickel back in deep coverage over the middle. This slight adjustment keeps the middle linebacker out of deep coverage and puts him in a situation he’s more comfortable with.
Dolphins: 7 Rams: 10 (4th – 1:26 – 1st and 10)
Dolphins: 7 Rams: 10 (4th – 0:40 – 2nd and 2)
- On the last two videos, Parker beats Trumaine Johson in coverage on an out route. Both of these plays are nice throws by Tannehill as he keeps the ball low and away from Johnson. Likewise, Parker is also able to make a couple of nice plays, and on the last play he’s able to get out his break quickly, extend for the pass in the end zone, and maintain possession throughout the catch.
Throughout last week’s game, but mostly the fourth quarter, DeVante Parker showed his ability to run underneath and intermediate routes successfully en route to a productive day. The Dolphins square off against the 49ers next week; they have been deficient in their defense against No. 1 and No. 2 wide receivers this year. If we are to believe that DeVante Parker has started to turn the corner on his career, next week is an ample opportunity for him to add to a growing body of work and continue to establish himself as the wide receiver that many hoped he would be out of college.
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