Tonight the Baltimore Ravens will square off against the Miami Dolphins, a team that has consistently been on the Ravens’ schedule for the past few years. The Ravens are coming off a victory over the Redskins last week. The 23-3 win came with a great showing of the defense, both starting, and backup. Baltimore’s starting defense, led by Lawrence Guy, kept the Redskins scoreless in the first quarter. Cornerback Jaylen Hill took up the reigns of leadership later in the game when the backups entered, and the defense continued to dominate. In the end, the defense held the Redskins to a mere 3 points. The offense also played well. Despite the absence of the top three receivers and quarterback. The offense also had to overcome a slow start to the game. Ryan Mallet had a shaky start, underthrowing and missing passes. However, he soon found a rhythm. The run game also picked up some of the work and helped move the ball down the field. Tonight’s opponent, the Miami Dolphins, are coming off a solid 23-20 victory over the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons. Miami’s victory was achieved through an aerial assault. Damore’ea Stringfellow led the Dolphins receivers with 2 catches, for a whopping 116 yards and a touchdown. In total, the Dolphins scored all three of their touchdowns through the air. The Dolphins pose more of a threat to the Ravens through the air rather than on the ground. Here are some players and things to watch for when the Ravens take on the Dolphins at 7:00 PM EDT tonight.
Rookie CB Marlon Humphrey to Debut
The Ravens absolutely love the potential that Marlon Humphrey has. The first round pick out of Alabama is expected by the organization and its fans to become an excellent pass defender. Everyone is excited to see him in action for the first time in his NFL career. Humphrey would have played last week against the Redskins if an injury had not kept him out. The preseason is a very valuable experience for a young player transitioning to the NFL. The experience is bound to help Humphrey progress, and it will be interesting to see how he holds up against a pass heavy team. Expect Humphrey to cut his teeth in this game. He may struggle early but should find ways to make an impact.
Will the Starting Offense Find Rhythm Early?
Last week, the starting offense for Baltimore had a very lackluster start. Quarterback Ryan Mallet, in for Joe Flacco, was missing targets left and right. After starting with back to back three and outs, it was the running game that finally found the end zone. Ryan Mallet and the offense eventually found a rhythm, but it was uncomfortably late. It is easy to point the blame all at Mallet, but it is not that simple of a situation. Mallet was missing all of his top three receivers, in Jeremy Maclin, Mike Wallace, and Breshad Perriman. Perriman is expected to miss the game against Miami, but Maclin and Wallace are set to see some action. Running back Danny Woodhead is also expected to play tonight. As a running back with a knack for receiving, he should bring a boost to the offense. With these players making their offensive debut, Ryan Mallet and company should have an easier time finding the end zone.
Will the Defense Stay Dominant?
Last week, Baltimore’s defense had an absolute smothering performance. Both the first team defense, along with the second and third string squads held tight, allowing just 3 points the entire game. The defensive unit for the Ravens is expected to be one of the best in the league this season. Another dominant performance would help to solidify that expectation. The Dolphins are expected to favor the passing attack, especially with the return of Jay Cutler and a quarterback competition heating up. The secondary is bound to get a workout, and it will be interesting to see how they hold up. I personally expect them to keep the Dolphins restrained, as they are a solid group. Also, keep your eyes on cornerback Jaylen Hill. He was impressive last week and has a chance to do the same this week.
Keenan Reynolds vs Quincy Adeboyejo
One of the major storylines throughout the entirety of this offseason for the Ravens has been the ongoing battle at wide receiver. Three bubble players were in a fierce fight to make the roster. These players were Tim White, Quincy Adeboyejo, and Keenan Reynolds. One would likely make the roster, another would be a stretch, but three would be unthinkable. As of last week, the leader in the battle was Tim White, who was turning heads as both a receiver and a return man. However, he is now out of contention, as he injured his thumb and is set to miss the entire season. That leaves two receivers, Keenan Reynolds and Quincy Adeboyejo. Last week Reynolds had a huge 46-yard punt return, while Adeboyejo had a solid night with 2 receptions for 24 yards. With the unfortunate end to White’s season, both these players have an extended opportunity to make the roster. Both will likely see significant time in tonight’s game. Expect Reynolds to continue to return kicks and punts, as well as finding more time at receiver. Also, expect Adeboyejo to be targeted more, and receive more play time.