For the second week in a row, defensive end Cameron Wake (knee) is listed as questionable entering a game against a big-name quarterback.
Wake was scratched before Monday night’s game against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, and the results were disastrous.
Having Wake on the field against the Ravens could be even more important than it was against the Saints, given the propensity of Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco to hold on to the ball and attempt deep throws.
According to Pro Football Focus, Flacco is second in the NFL in pass attempts that travel more than 20 yards in the air. Creating a pass rush is essential to slowing down the deep ball and helping the Dolphins’ 24th-ranked passing defense.
Although Wake’s status is still unclear, he said his knee was feeling “better.”
The week’s final injury report seems to indicate that the rest of the defense is getting healthier, with the exception of cornerback Dimitri Patterson (groin), who will miss his fourth consecutive game.
Defensive tackle Paul Soliai (knee) was a full participant in practice all week and is listed as probable for Sunday’s game, along with cornerback Nolan Carroll (ankle), safety Chris Clemons (glute) and linebackers Koa Misi (shoulder), Jonathan Freeny (shoulder) and Dannell Ellerbe (knee).
Receiver Brandon Gibson (ankle), the only offensive player on the report, is questionable. Special-teams players Jason Trusnik (ribs) and Don Jones (elbow) also are questionable.
Cornerback Ladarius Webb, largely considered Baltimore’s best defensive back, returned to practice Friday — albeit in a limited fashion — after missing Wednesday and Thursday with a thigh injury. Webb was upgraded to questionable after Friday’s practice.
Although the Ravens haven’t officially ruled them out for Sunday’s game, defensive tackles Terrence Cody (knee) and Marcus Spears (knee) didn’t practice Friday. Cody is listed as doubtful, and Spears is questionable.
After Marcus Thigpen — typically used for punt and kickoff returns only — was responsible for the Dolphins’ longest play from scrimmage Monday night, there has been a buzz about using him more on offense.
“He’s a skilled athlete, and [the play] was not a surprise,” coach Joe Philbin said of Thigpen’s 50-yard reception. “He was able to make a guy miss and turn a short pass into a long gain, and those are always good explosive plays to have. So we were pleased with his contribution.”
Philbin wouldn’t say whether the second-year running back would be utilized more on offense.
“We’ve definitely talked about it, even going back to last year,” Thigpen said. “I feel they’re a little bit more comfortable with me this year.”
READY FOR SPEED
Baltimore’s Torrey Smith, one of the fastest receivers — if not players — in the league, can sometimes catch defenses off-guard with his wheels. Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes doesn’t anticipate this being a problem Sunday, given the speed the defense sees daily in practice.
“Any time you can go against good receivers in practice it helps you,” Grimes said. “We’ve been going against Mike Wallace -- you’re not going to get faster than that.”