Armando Salguero

Historically bad Dolphins offense getting some much needed help

Receiver DeVante Parker provides the Miami Dolphins with a matchup problem against opposing defenses.
Receiver DeVante Parker provides the Miami Dolphins with a matchup problem against opposing defenses.

The Miami Dolphins expect wide receiver DeVante Parker to play in Sunday night’s prime time game against the Oakland Raiders, barring a setback in practices this week, according to sources.

Parker, who has missed the past three games with an ankle injury, will this week get his first significant practice work since the first week of October. Coach Adam Gase last week was hopeful but non-committal about whether Parker would play against Oakland.

Dolphins players are off until Tuesday and will begin practice preparations for the Raiders on Wednesday.

Despite missing three games, Parker is second on the team with four catches of 20-yards or more, leads the team with an average of 59 receiving yards per game, and is first among the wide receivers with a 67.8 percent catches to targets rate.

The Dolphins also expect to get left guard Ted Larsen, on the injured reserve list with a biceps injury, on the practice field this week for the first time since he suffered the injury in August. It’s unclear to what degree Larsen will be able to participate in drills (full or limited) or whether he’ll be able to play Sunday night.

If Larsen cannot get up to speed in just a few days of work, which is admittedly unlikely, the team can keep him on the injured reserve list while continuing to let him practice through next week. Jesse Davis would continue to start at left guard until Larsen returns.

The team is obviously also getting Jay Cutler back as its starting quarterback against Oakland -- this something Gase announced last week despite the fact the quarterback still has the two cracked ribs he suffered against the New York Jets on Oct. 22.

Cutler tried to return to that Jets game with the broken ribs and then wanted to play against Baltimore on Oct. 26 but was held out both times by Gase.

If the Dolphins get their players, all of them starters, back in the lineup it would serve as a much-needed boost to an offense that has sunk to historic depths so far this season.

Indeed, even if the Dolphins get Parker and Cutler back as expected it would help.

The Dolphins, you see, have scored 92 points this season. That is the least amount of points scored by any NFL team so far.

Even when you factor that Miami has played one fewer game than most teams, the facts don’t get much brighter. The Dolphins, shut out twice in seven games, are averaging 13.1 points per game. And that, too, is last in the NFL.

The Dolphins, averaging 252.4 yards per game, are last in the NFL in that category, too.

And here’s the thing: The Dolphins have never finished lower than 29th in total offense (that in 2004 during a 4-12 season) in their 52-season history.

At their current pace, the Dolphins would finish the season with 209 points. That would be the fewest points the team has ever scored in any non-strike season in its history. That includes seasons before 1978 when the NFL played only 14 regular-season games.

The Dolphins scored 198 points in 1982 but that season was abbreviated to only nine games due to a 57-day-long players’ strike.

So, yes, this Dolphins offense is threatening history for all the wrong reasons.

The return of a receiver who is a matchup problem for some defenses and was authoring a solid season before he got injured cannot hurt.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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