Miami Gardens, Fla. — Most of the Ravens' veterans who were held out of last week's game against the Washington Redskins returned to get their first preseason action Thursday against the Miami Dolphins. However, the offensive line still bore little resemblance to the group the Ravens hope to put out on the field in their Sept. 10 regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.
With left tackle Ronnie Stanley sidelined with an undisclosed injury, right guard Marshal Yanda being held out as he continues his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery and left guard Alex Lewis out for the season because of shoulder surgery, the Ravens were again forced to start a makeshift offensive line.
James Hurst, who started at right tackle against the Redskins, moved to left tackle in place of Stanley. Recently-signed Austin Howard occupied the right tackle spot. Ryan Jensen remained at center with Matt Skura starting at right guard and Jarrod Pughsley getting the assignment at left guard. Rookie fifth-round selection Jermaine Eluemunor started at left guard last week, but he missed some practice time this week with an undisclosed injury, so the Ravens went with Pughsley.
The first-team offensive line struggled in the first half as Skura was called for two penalties and Hurst, Jensen and Howard got one each.
Otherwise, running back Danny Woodhead, wide receivers Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin and tight end Benjamin Watson got their first preseason action after being held out last week.
Woodhead had one carry for two yards, but did not catch a pass. Wallace had two receptions for 33 yards and Watson caught one ball for 11 yards. Maclin caught one ball for five yards.
The only other Ravens who weren't in uniform were quarterback Joe Flacco (back), wide receivers Breshad Perriman (hamstring), Kenny Bell (hamstring) and Tim White (thumb), linebacker Lamar Louis (undisclosed), and cornerbacks Maurice Canady (knee) and Brandon Boykin (undisclosed).
Faith in Tucker: Ravens kicker Justin Tucker is a victim of his own success. Even his head coach, John Harbaugh, acknowledges that he's guilty of taking the league's all-time most accurate kicker for granted on occasion.
Tucker has been so good that it's newsworthy when he does miss, even if it's in practice. During training camp, Tucker has misfired on far more field-goal attempts than he has in previous summers. While just about all the misses have been from more than 40 yards, it's still jarring to see Tucker, who made 38 of his 39 attempts last year, miss multiple times in a practice, which has happened this summer.
"We treat practices very seriously — just like for punters, kickers and all players who are practicing to get better. The results of Justin's training camp, I think, are positive," Ravens associate head coach and special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said earlier this week. "We don't want to miss any kicks during training camp, just like we don't want to miss any kicks during the preseason games, nor do we want to miss any kicks during the regular season. But, it's a fact of life."
Rosburg said that the kicking battery of Tucker, holder Sam Koch and long snapper Morgan Cox has been working hard to regain the timing that they had last year.
"I have a lot of confidence in all three of those guys, particularly in Justin," Rosburg said. "He has an excellent track record. We're happy we have him, and we trust him."
Tucker bounced a 43-yard field-goal attempt off the left upright in the preseason opener, but a penalty against the Redskins nullified the miss. He rebounded to make field goals of 37, 59 and 21 yards while also converting on both of his extra-point tries.
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He had another good game Thursday, converting on all three of his field-goal attempts from 57, 42 and 41 yards and making both of his extra-point tries. It was an impressive performance given the poor field conditions at Hard Rock Stadium.
He also added a fumble recovery, pouncing on Senorise Perry's fumble on a kickoff return late in the second quarter. The recovery book-ended two field goals by Tucker.
The first of two: By year's end, the Ravens and Dolphins should know each other pretty well. Thursday night's preseason matchup is the first two of two meetings between the teams, a relatively rare occurrence. The Dolphins will travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens on Oct. 26 in Week 8 of the regular season.
It marks the 11th time in franchise history the Ravens are scheduled to play a team in both the preseason and the regular season. The last time it happened was in 2014 with the New Orleans Saints. This year also is the fifth straight in which the Ravens and Dolphins will meet in the regular season.
End zone: The Ravens used defensive lineman Patrick Ricard at fullback on a couple of plays in the first half. … Tight end Maxx Williams had a nice game with two catches for 48 yards. … There were no developments on the Jeremy Zuttah front as the free-agent center is still pondering signing with the Ravens or Indianapolis Colts. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano announced Thursday that his starting center, Ryan Kelly, will need foot surgery and could miss some time during the regular season. … Ravens safety Tony Jefferson and Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills caught up before the game. The two were former roommates at Oklahoma. … CBS announced the broadcasting crews earlier this week for the Ravens' first three games. Spero Dedes and Adam Archuleta will be on the call for the regular-season opener against the Bengals; Andrew Catalon and James Lofton have the Week 2 matchup with the Cleveland Browns and the Week 3 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London; and Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts will broadcast the Ravens' Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.