DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins did something rarely seen this weekend when they replaced both their kicker and punter just days before the regular season.
The Dolphins cut third-year punter Matt Darr in favor of undrafted rookie Matt Haack, who beat Darr in a close competition. The team also cut kicker Andrew Franks in favor of waiver claim Cody Parkey as Miami prepares to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Sunday's opener.
“It wasn’t as easy as it seems like people make it sound,” Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said of the competition at punter. “Matt [Haack] competed, and he improved, and those two guys battled, and at the end of the day, that’s the decision we decided to make. We feel like we have something special there, and the fact that [Haack is] left-footed works out.
“It’s tough for returners. I know, in my time, every time that we would play a left-footed punter, it was always a nonstop conversation by special-teams coaches.”
The switch at kicker was a bigger surprise. The Dolphins gave no indication this offseason that Franks’ job was in jeopardy. He was 2-of-3 on field goal attempts in the preseason, making a 56-yard attempt and missing from 45 yards.
Parkey, a four-year veteran, was 20-of-25 on field goal attempts last season for the Cleveland Browns. All five of Parkey's misses came on field goal attempts between 40-49 yards, and, interestingly, three of his five missed field goals last year came against the Dolphins in Hard Rock Stadium.
However, Parkey is a native of nearby North Palm Beach, Florida, and is looking forward to playing for his hometown team.
“It couldn’t have been a better spot than to land here,” Parkey said. “I’m close to home. I grew up a Dolphins fan. So this is pretty awesome.”
According to Gase, who picked up his first head-coaching win in last year’s game against the Browns, Parkey’s poor performance in Miami last season is a non-issue.
“I just didn’t even count that game,” Gase said. “He’s been around for a minute, so there’s a lot of trust there.”