OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens kicked off the 2017 preseason with a convincing 23-3 win over the Washington Redskins. The team undergoes their first road test this week with a trip down south to Miami.
The NFL preseason often features out-of-conference matchups. This game marks the first time the Ravens and Dolphins face off in the preseason. On Oct. 26, the Dolphins travel to Baltimore for a week eight Thursday-night game against the Ravens.
Where: Hard Rock Stadium – Miami, Florida.
When: Thursday, Aug. 17, 7:00 pm.
Humphrey set for NFL debut: Ravens 2017 first round pick, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, will make his NFL debut on Thursday night. Humphrey missed six practices and the first preseason game with an undisclosed injury. This week, Humphrey practiced with no setbacks, making Thursday a good indicator of how ready he is for action.
Recent first-rounders dealing with injuries: 2016 first-round tackle Ronnie Stanley, will not play against the Dolphins after missing three practices. His injury is undisclosed. Another first-rounder, 2015 receiver Breshad Perriman, missed last week’s game with a hamstring injury and will not play this week either. Head Coach John Harbaugh did not rule Perriman out for the rest of the preseason, but called Perriman’s injury “long-term.”
On the bright side, offensive lineman Austin Howard, signed by the Ravens on Aug. 4, looks ready to play after practicing four straight days. Howard will likely play right tackle, and James Hurst will probably line up at left tackle in the wake of Stanley’s injury.
Quarterback battle looming? On Monday, the Ravens added some quarterback depth by signing veteran Thad Lewis. Undrafted out of Duke in 2010, Lewis owns six career starts in the NFL, one with the Browns and five with the Bills. In those starts, Lewis threw five touchdown passes and four interceptions to a 82.2 rating.
Last week against the Redskins, current backup quarterback Ryan Mallett looked, at best, pedestrian. Mallett completed 9-of-18 passes for 58 yards. The Ravens scored 13 points with Mallett at the helm, but the offense got help from penalties committed by the Redskins on the touchdown drive. Baltimore added two field goals at the end of the first half, resulting from Mallett going one-for-five with a three-yard completion.
If Mallett continues to struggle in preseason games, the Ravens could consider keeping Lewis instead. Lewis, in limited playing time, showed that he can start in a pinch. Of course, the Ravens hope to not use a backup quarterback all season with a healthy Joe Flacco, but it all comes down to how Flacco’s back holds up.
With signing Lewis, the Ravens released quarterback Dustin Vaughan, who got sacked three times against the Redskins.
Notes on the Dolphins:
- On Aug. 7, Miami brought quarterback Jay Cutler out of retirement and signed him to a one-year, $10 million contract to replace Ryan Tannehill, who’s out for the season with a knee injury. Cutler did not play in Miami’s preseason opener against Atlanta, but the Dolphins will start him on Thursday against the Ravens.
- Adam Gase enters his second season as the head coach of the Dolphins. Gase’s prior gig came in Chicago as the Bears’ offensive coordinator. Cutler, of course, played for the Bears over eight seasons from 2009-2016. In 2015 under Gase, Cutler put up his best stats, throwing for 3,659 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. His QB rating was 92.3.
- On Monday, the Fins signed wide receiver Trey Griffey, son of MLB Hall-of-Famer Ken Griffey Jr. Griffey, undrafted out of Arizona, spent time with the Colts this summer. Griffey adds depth to a thin Dolphins receiving core, but luckily their top three receivers – Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills – are not hurt.
- At this point in camp, the Dolphins, like the Ravens, face injury concerns on offense. Tight end Julius Thomas (back) missed practice on Monday. During Monday’s practice, running back Kenyan Drake suffered a head injury after colliding with defensive back Torry McTyler. He entered the concussion protocol and will not play on Thursday. Starting running back Jay Ajayi dealt with a concussion last week, but returned to the practice field on Sunday. He, unlike Drake, has cleared the concussion protocol.
- Miami defeated Atlanta 23-20 last Thursday from Hard Rock Stadium.
Image Credit: Russell Street Report