The Miami Dolphins have significantly reshaped their roster ahead of their season opener against the Ravens, most notably trading left tackle Laremy Tunsil.
As Sunday approaches, Miami is weighing its options along the offensive line, but regardless of the team’s personnel, the game plan for the Ravens defense stays the same.
“With their changes, that’s their issue of how they built the roster,” defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale said Thursday. “All I know is this: We’re really excited about our roster defensively.”
With the temperature likely to be in the 90s by kickoff, Martindale said he expects the Dolphins to test the defense’s conditioning with up-tempo play calls and quick screens. Martindale expressed confidence in the defense’s depth, but downplayed the heat, pointing to the team’s sweltering joint practices with the Philadelphia Eagles.
“We talk about the heat and I think everybody wants to talk about the heat,” Martindale said. “Could it be any hotter than what it was when we were in Philadelphia? I saw some giraffes and elephants going up and down the sideline.”
Jones to field punts, no kick returner set
Cornerback Cyrus Jones (Gilman) will be the Ravens’ primary punt returner for Sunday’s season opener, special teams coach Chris Horton said.
“Cyrus is the guy,” Horton said.
As he entered training camp, Jones’ spot on the roster was somewhat uncertain but became more secure once slot cornerback Tavon Young suffered a season-ending neck injury. Jones is expected to take snaps at nickel back while retaining his role as punt returner.
After being signed away from the New England Patriots twice last season, Jones handled punt-return duties and had the fourth-highest average in the NFL (14.4), including a 70-yard touchdown return against the Oakland Raiders.
Rookie wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown is also still an option to return punts, despite muffing two punts in the team’s preseason finale.
“It wasn’t really a concern,” Horton said of Brown’s ball-security problems. “You put a guy out there in a game situation and we want to see if he can do it. When he put those two balls on the ground, it just told me and told our coaches we just have to continue to practice him back there, continue to get him more reps. He’s going to be a guy that I think we can put back there and give us a little bit of excitement.”
Horton didn’t commit to a kick returner, but named multiple options, including wide receiver Chris Moore and rookie running back Justice Hill.
“We’ve got guys that we can throw back there,” Horton said. “Chris Moore has done an outstanding job for us. We love what Justice brings. We gave Cyrus some opportunities in the preseason, so we’ll go forward and you guys will find out on Sunday.”
Ravens to provide 5G service at M&T Bank Stadium
M&T Bank Stadium will be one of 13 NFL stadiums partnering with Verizon to offer 5G Ultra Wideband service for the NFL’s opening weekend.
The 5G network will be available for the Ravens’ home opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 15 and fans with a 5G device will be able to “access higher capacity, faster download speeds and lower latency,” according to a statement.
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Gillette Stadium, MetLife Stadium and Soldier Field are other notable stadiums working with Verizon to offer the service.