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TOP NEWS: Allen's Debut, Parkey's Award

Posted Sep 21, 2017

Chase Allen can only marvel at his improbable football journey over the past several months.

A little more than five months after joining the Dolphins, Allen accomplished a rare feat when he started against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. He became the first rookie free agent to start a Dolphins opener in 47 years — since linebacker Doug Swift did it in 1970.

“It’s a crazy story, but that’s just how the league is,” Allen said. “I’m learning one guy goes down, you’re up and it doesn’t matter who you are, it’s next man up. Just embracing the moment.”

Allen was one of only three rookie free agents in the entire NFL to start an opener this season, along with Colts center Deyshawn Bond and Giants fullback Shane Smith.

Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke said he was impressed with how Allen responded once he was thrust into the starting lineup because of the unexpected absence of veteran linebacker Lawrence Timmons.

Burke revealed Thursday he was tough on Allen throughout the summer, and again gave him an earful before the game against the Chargers.

“I’ve been all over him and been in his ear and killing him and then I walked passed him — I was all amped up on game day — on stretch line, I walked past Chase, and he’s kneeling down, stretching or whatever and I grabbed him by the shirt, by the jersey, and I was like, this is why I’ve been MF’ing you all year and this is why you’re here,” Burke said. “I probably said some other stuff I can’t say live here. (laughter) I yelled at him for about two minutes, and he looks at me and he goes, ‘OK, Coach.’ I mean literally that was it. (laughter) I was like, ‘All right, we’re good.’

“I think he only played like 10 snaps or something. He had four tackles. I mean, he was great. He didn’t bat an eye. Literally, that’s kind of how he was, just, ‘All right, coach. I’m good,’ and kind of handled my manic attitude. So he was great. He did a good job and we feel comfortable playing him.”

The way Allen sees it, having a coach get on you isn’t a bad thing.

“I’ve always been told once a coach lays off you, it means they’ve given up on you,” Allen said. “He’s been on me all camp. I think it makes me a better player. It makes me be more accountable for what I have to do. I think it’s helped a lot.”

Parkey’s prize: Kicker Cody Parkey keeps reaping the rewards of his clutch performance against the Chargers. He showed off Thursday a boxing championship belt he got from Associate Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi as the top special teams performer in the 19-17 victory at StubHub Center. The belt has 1/11 SPECIAL TEAMS inscribed on it. Rizzi also indicated that Owner Stephen Ross made it a point to get shake Parkey’s hand after the game Sunday.

Kiko’s concern: Linebacker Kiko Alonso said Thursday he plans on trying to raise money to help the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Alonso’s father grew up on that island and Kiko has many relatives who live there. “My dad’s side of the family was there and just seeing the pictures of what happened, it’s just devastating,” Alonso said. “My heart goes out to them. I’m trying to get something done to raise some money. They’ve got all kinds of issues. That should be up and running soon.” Alonso conducted a clinic in Puerto Rico in April. He said he hadn’t talked to his cousins, aunts or uncles who live in Puerto Rico but it was his understanding that they were OK.

Ja’wuan shines: Head Coach Adam Gase praised the performance of right tackle Ja’Wuan James against the Chargers, calling it his best game since he took over as head coach last season. James said he actually thought he had a better game last season, though he added, “But I appreciate the compliment. I’ve just got to try to build off of that game.”

Stills’ LT tribute: If you thought Kenny Stills’ touchdown celebration against the Chargers looked familiar, it’s because it was the signature move of Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson. Stills grew up in Southern California, so he was very familiar with the former Chargers star. “I never plan any celebrations, but being that I’m from the West Coast, anytime that I play the Chargers, that’s something that I’ll do,” Stills said. “Just out of respect for LT. Grew up watching him play and scoring a lot of touchdowns and doing that celebration. Last year I kind of messed it up a little bit. I wanted to get it right this time.”

Winning the close ones: With their 19-17 victory against the Chargers, the Dolphins set a franchise record with their ninth consecutive victory in games decided by seven points or less. The streak began with the 30-24 overtime victory against the Cleveland Browns last Sept. 25. The previous mark of eight was set between the 1992 and 1993 seasons.

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