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Dolphins Have Speed, But Ravens Plan to Have Answers 

From left: Miami Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill, S Marcus Williams
From left: Miami Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill, S Marcus Williams

It's hard to ignore the Dolphins' team speed when watching their playmakers such as wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle and running backs Raheem Mostert and De'Von Achane.  

Roquan Smith has been studying the Dolphins on film this week, and while he respects Miami's explosiveness, he believes Baltimore's defense can find enough answers. 

"It's definitely a track team on grass, but we wouldn't like it any other way," Smith said. "We prefer to go through the best to be the best, so we're looking forward to the matchup. I think it's going to be a great one.  

"At the end of the day, the field is 100 yards long – and what is it, like 53 yards wide – so you can only go so far. I think it's just more so doing our jobs and getting back to our responsibilities. I think if we do that, we'll slow a lot of that down, but obviously, it's a lot easier said than done. We're going to be ready for it."  

Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald sees similarities between the Dolphins' offense and what the Ravens just faced against the 49ers. However, the way Miami uses its personnel presents different challenges, as does Hill (106 catches, 1,641 yards, 12 touchdowns) who may be the league's fastest player. 

"They do a great job of getting him the ball creatively," Macdonald said. "It's different if someone just lines up at the X, and he's on the ball, and he's not moving, and you know where's he's going to be – that's definitely not the case with Tyreek. We have some initial plans on how we want to handle it. Obviously, I don't want to divulge it right now, but it's a challenge in how they move him. It's a credit to them with their system and the things he's able to do from different spots."  

There's also danger in paying so much attention to Hill that other playmakers are left running free. 

"It's unique to the rest of the league because it's at every spot," Macdonald said. "Every guy that can touch the ball can take off and score from any point. It sounds cliché, but it is all 11 players. You have to take great angles, you have to have great secondary force and a third guy in the alley. The guys have practiced well today and the walkthrough yesterday, but [we] definitely need to attack that the rest of the week."

Mike Macdonald Reacts to Hearing His Name Mentioned As a Potential Head Coach 

The performance of Baltimore's defense and Macdonald's role in its success had led to him being mentioned by national media as a potential NFL head coach next season. Macdonald is flattered but said the Ravens' strong performance has been a collaborative effort. 

"It's hard to ignore. It's an honor to hear about it," Macdonald said. "It's such a unique opportunity when it does come up. 

"To have your name come up like that, it's really a reflection of our coaches and our staff together. We have a great staff, and our coaches do a phenomenal job of prepping our guys on a week-to-week basis, getting buy-in. We have such a diverse group of thought, and we're not afraid to challenge one another, too. So, we'll crack a joke, [and] we have a good time, but those guys deserve a lot of credit, too, for the position we've been able to put our guys in."

Having a Chance to Clinch the No. 1 Seed Provides Extra Motivation 

Nobody needs to remind the Ravens that they will clinch a No. 1 seed and a first-round bye with a victory over Miami. It's giving them a little extra juice when they think about what's at stake. 

"We get a two-for-one special this week; if we get a win, we win the division, and we win the conference," safety Kyle Hamilton said. "It doesn't get much bigger than that." 

Smith says the Ravens don't need to change this week's approach and have proven they have a strong formula for success. 

"It's definitely a huge game, but we're not making it any bigger than what it is," Smith said. It's the next game on the schedule, and we're going to treat it just like any other game throughout the regular season. We're going to be ready to rock and roll, and we have to be ready to protect the house by any means."

Rashod Bateman Settling Into Rhythm With More Practice Reps 

Wide receiver Rashod Bateman (28 catches, 313 yards, one touchdown) has played in a career-high 14 games this season and is healthy for the Ravens' stretch run toward the playoffs. Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken likes what he is seeing from Bateman, who is benefitting from stacking practices week after week. 

"You really can see with each day and each week (Bateman) gaining more confidence," Monken said. "His ability to practice after basically almost being out a year. Missing the offseason is a better way of putting it or a lot of training camp.  

"You can see his confidence beginning to grow, and he's playing faster. He has it in him. It's been better every week, and he's been able to practice every week. That's a big part of a player's development when you have a skillset that he has. He loves football. He likes to practice, so it's just a matter of staying healthy, and that development will continue to come."

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