Dolphins present matchup problems for Ravens defense


They say the NFL is a game of matchups. If you listen to a coach talk about their game plan, one of the things you’ll hear the most is how they need to win one-on-one matchups. That concept will be put to the test when the Baltimore Ravens travel to Miami to face the Dolphins.

The Ravens faced a Cleveland Browns team that has similar weapons on offense which gave their defense plenty of problems. Cleveland was able to create mismatches by way of formations and motions. The goal was to get Duke Johnson and Gary Barnidge matched up with the Ravens linebackers. The Browns were able to get some big gains as a result.

John Harbaugh acknowledged the problems that the Browns personnel presented and said the Dolphins could bring the same kind of trouble.

“It is a big concern. The Browns had two weeks to prepare for us, and I thought they did an excellent job of game-planning us. The personnel groups that they put us in, we had our bigger people on the field,” Harbaugh said. “Because of some of their personnel – similar to what the Dolphins have – they were able to match us up in coverage and throw the ball early in the game. I would think Miami would try something similar to that.”

The Ravens made adjustments at halftime to stop the big plays the Browns were generating. Harbaugh gave defensive coordinator Dean Pees credit for making the necessary changes. One of those changes was inserting Zach Orr into the lineup at inside linebacker.

Orr has made an impression on Harbaugh and the Ravens coaching staff because of his special teams play. It’s something that earned him consideration for more reps on defense. Harbaugh pointed out what Orr brings to the field and why he saw an increased role last week.

“Zach is a guy who is very active. He’s a very fast player. He adds a speed element to us. He puts one more fast guy on the field,” Harbaugh said. “That’s why we like him out there. That’s why he was out there in the second half in those packages. He’s doing a good job.”

Orr played 28 snaps on defense. He primarily came in for Daryl Smith on passing downs. Getting the opportunity to get in the mix on defense was a treat for Orr. He knew exactly what it was he had to do.

“They like to get their playmakers in space. It’s like what Cleveland tried to do with us last week. I just want to get out there and help the team out,” Orr said. “Speed is my strength, I can come in there and play the pass against the tight ends and play the run as well.

The Dolphins will work to get the ball to Lamar Miller along with tight ends Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims. Jarvis Landry is their top threat, but the matchups dictate Miller, Cameron, and Sims to be the featured players this week.

Zac Taylor is the new play caller for the Dolphins. Ryan Tannehill will also be more involved with the game plan. Together they plan to get the ball into their playmaker’s hands quickly to combat the Ravens front which is starting to generate more pressure thanks to Elvis Dumervil, Timmy Jernigan, and Brandon Williams.

The Ravens will need Zach Orr once again this week when they visit the Dolphins this week. He’ll need to cover the Dolphins playmakers in space just like he did against the Browns last week.