Tale Of The Tape: Baltimore Ravens At Miami Dolphins
- QuarterbackJoe Flacco has the arm strength and skills to dominate any game, but he is not infallible. He has the tendency to force the ball into tight windows because he believes in his arm strength and that can lead to problems, as it did against the Bills in Week Three. If he stays patient and works the gameplan, Flacco is very tough to beat.Ryan Tannehill remains one of the most underrated performers in the game. He is athletic, has adequate arm strength and will put the ball on the money. However, his greatest asset is his intelligence and his ability to stay cool under pressure. Head coach Joe Philbin will not put too many demands on him and that has allowed Tannehill to thrive.
- OffenseRay Rice has to take on a dominant role if the Ravens are going to sustain offense in this game. When the Ravens can run the ball, Flacco is much more effective and Rice has to be decisive in his moves and cutbacks. Tight end Dallas Clark seems to be growing more comfortable with the Ravens. He could turn out to be a big-time producer later in the year.The Dolphins don’t have a lot of offensive stars, but they are becoming a cohesive offensive team. Lamar Miller gives them just enough in the running game to take the heat off of Tannehill. Mike Wallace is the big-play threat who can stretch the field. He can be quite moody if he doesn’t get the ball enough. Brian Hartline has reliable hands and he will get open.
- DefenseThe Ravens need to tighten up on the defensive end after a rather ordinary start this year. The Bills had little trouble moving the ball against them and they are just an average offensive team. Inside linebacker Daryl Smith is a solid tackler who is almost always in the right position. However, he needs to get help from the pass rush which has not been effective.The Dolphins have been giving up yardage this year, but they do not give up big plays or a lot of points. Keep your eye on middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe who is an excellent tackler with the speed to chase plays down from behind. Defensive end Cameron Wake is a good pass rusher who needs to show a bit more hunger.
- Special TeamsThe Ravens are starting to do somewhat better in coverage after an ordinary start. Placekicker Justin Tucker has a decent leg but lacks overall consistency while Sam Koch is a solid punter who gets decent height on his kicks.The Dolphins' coverage teams have been getting the job done and Marcus Thigpen is a decent threat to give them excellent position on kickoff returns. Caleb Sturgis is an unheralded placekicker, but he has gotten the job done consistently and he can also make the long kicks as well.
The Dolphins are an active, aggressive team and they don’t care if they fly under the radar. They have a solid leader in Tannehill and they are clearly a team with very bright days in front of them. Beating the defending Super Bowl champions would be a solid achievement. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor