Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Sammy Watkins will make his return from a hamstring injury tonight against the Miami Dolphins, with the team announcing that he is active for the first time since Week 5 against the Indianapolis Colts.
But the Ravens will be without several veterans for tonight’s primetime matchup, including right tackle Patrick Mekari, defensive tackle Brandon Williams and running back Latavius Murray. None of the three participated in yesterday’s practice, so their absences tonight are expected.
But despite optimism from head coach John Harbaugh, tight end Nick Boyle will not make his long-awaited return from last season’s knee injury tonight. The Ravens moved tight end Eric Tomlinson from the practice squad to the active roster earlier this afternoon, leading to speculation that Boyle would be inactive tonight.
Undrafted rookie safety Ar’Darius Washington and outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson are both healthy scratches for tonight’s game, as is second-year wide receiver James Proche. With Watkins back, the Ravens had seven healthy wide receivers for the first time in 2021. Since Miles Boykin and Tylan Wallace both play roles on special teams, Proche ended up the odd man out, despite his reliability when called upon this year.
Ravens Hoping to Duplicate 2019 Effort in Miami
Watkins’ availability means that Lamar Jackson will have all of his top receiving targets for the first time this season. In fact, a starting trio of Watkins, Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown and Rashod Bateman at receiver, along with tight end Mark Andrews, makes up the most dangerous group of weapons that Jackson has ever had at his disposal.
The last time that Jackson played the Dolphins, he had Brown and Andrews, but his next-best receivers were Willie Snead and Miles Boykin. Snead was released by the Las Vegas Raiders last month, and Boykin has slid down the depth chart into a role as a run blocker and special teams contributor.
But Jackson was still able to throw for 324 yards and five touchdowns, earning a perfect 158.3 passer rating in the process. With a full complement of weapons tonight, he could put up a duplicate performance.
Westry To Play Vs. Dolphins
Another minor surprise came in the form of cornerback Chris Westry, who was activated from the injured reserve list to the Ravens’ 53-man roster today. He returned to practice in early November, but there was little discussion of his availability for tonight’s game during press conferences this week.
But he’ll make his first appearance since a meniscus injury suffered against the Raiders in Week 1, giving the Ravens’ secondary a boost after losing DeShon Elliott for the season last week.
Westry will look to pick up where he left off after an impressive preseason and promising showing in Las Vegas.
Brissett to Start for Dolphins
The Dolphins also made a final decision on their quarterback for tonight, opting to hold out Tua Tagavailoa for a second consecutive week due to a fractured left middle finger, per NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe.
Tagavailoa went through a workout earlier today, but Miami ultimately decided to go with Jacoby Brissett, who has struggled with turnovers this season.
While rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is certainly a concern, the Ravens defense will be looking to dominate a matchup against a Dolphins offense that has struggled with Brisset under center.