Ravens Preparing For 'Unique' Dolphins Offense

The Ravens defense has fallen on hard times the past two weeks, giving up 965 total yards of offense and 61 points to the Saints and Chargers.

Baltimore thankfully doesn't have the likes of Drew Brees or Philip Rivers to deal with this Sunday in Miami, but the Ravens do have the tall task of preparing for a type of offense they haven't seen this season.

"They are a very unique offense," Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees said in this week's episode of Game Plan. "They are kind of a college offense."

The Dolphins have the 10th-ranked overall offense in the NFL. They are 10th in rushing and 22nd in passing.

With Bill Lazor as the new offensive coordinator, Miami's offense will look a lot different than it did last year when the Ravens pressured it mightily (six sacks) in a 26-23 Baltimore victory.

Miami runs a zone-read system. That means third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill has a lot on his plate in terms of reading linebackers and defensive ends and making on-the-spot decisions between handing the ball off, running himself or passing.

"Their offense is a spread-option type of an offense that Tannehill runs very effectively – a lot of weapons," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "They spread the ball out, they spread the formations out, they run the read option, they run the dive, quarterback keepers, quarterback-follow plays."

The offense also sets up a lot of short, quick passes for Tannehill, which will challenge the Ravens in coverage. Baltimore gave up a lot of yardage to Rivers and the Chargers on short passes last Sunday, as Rivers went 34-for-37 for 301 yards and two touchdowns on passes shorter than 20 yards.

Tannehill completed 25 of 35 attempts for 235 passing yards on Monday Night Football against the Jets. He has now completed at least 70 percent of his pass attempts in each of the past five games, tied for the third-longest streak in the last 10 seasons. Brett Favre did it in 2007 and Peyton Manning had streaks of six games in 2008 and 2012.

Tannehill can also run it. He's already got a career-high 45 rushing attempts for 289 yards and one touchdown. That's the sixth-most rushing yards among NFL quarterbacks this season.

"This guy likes to run," Pees said. "[He's] an athletic quarterback."

Tannehill has his pick of targets. There's the always dangerous former Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Wallace (54 receptions, 661 yards and seven touchdowns). Jarvis Landry, a second-round rookie receiver out of LSU, has stepped up recently. Starting wide receiver Brian Hartline (knee) sat out the second half of Monday night's game, however.

Running back Lamar Miller has rushed for 729 yards and six scores, and is another threat catching the ball with 27 receptions for 171 yards and a touchdown.

Baltimore has done a good job shutting down opposing running backs this season, and ranks fourth in the NFL in that area (86.3 yards per game). Part of that, however, is because teams have stopped running the ball in favor of attacking the secondary.

The Ravens have to adjust to a new kind of run-pass attack. Perhaps that's a good thing. It's definitely a different thing. The last time Baltimore saw an option offense was in Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers.

"It's going to be really challenging for us," Harbaugh said. "It's something we haven't seen all year, so we'll put that game plan together."

In week 5 of the 2013 NFL season the Baltimore Ravens travel to Sun Life Stadium to take on the Miami Dolphins.

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