Grading the Miami Dolphins vs. the Baltimore Ravens (some good, some bad, lot of ugly)

The Dolphins’ Senorise Perry scores on an 11-yard run against the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS — Performances don’t get more uneven than this, even by preseason standards. Following the Dolphins’ 31-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night, Adam Gase and his staff will have plenty to chew on.

The good, the bad, and a whole lot of ugly:

Quarterback

Jay Cutler’s debut must be judged in context. His stats (3-of-6, 24 yards) might not excite anybody, but outside of one throw into double coverage, he looked like the veteran he is, not the ex-broadcaster he also is. He stepped up in traffic to hit DeVante Parker with a 31-yarder on third-and-16, which would have created a buzz had Sam Young not been nailed for holding. On the next series, Cutler hit Parker in stride across the middle for 16 yards. After Bad Jay threw into double coverage, things unraveled, not by his doing. His line allowed Za’Darius Smith to burst through untouched. Cutler unloaded the ball, then appeared to let his linemen know this kind of thing won’t cut it. Very justified. David Fales didn’t excite.

Grade: B for Cutler, C-minus for the group


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Running backs

A lot of attention will be focused on Senorise Perry’s 11-yard touchdown run, but his best play was a powerful 5-yarder a couple of plays prior. So desperate to bring him down were the Ravens that they resorted to face-masking him. We saw a cameo by Jay Ajayi, who looked like Ajayi, ripping off a 19-yard run. But Ajayi took a shot from defensive tackle Brandon Williams that had some cringe since Ajayi was coming off a concussion. Wise move by the Dolphins to get the hook.

Grade: B

Receivers

They played? Other than DeVante Parker’s slick 16-yard reception, this was as quiet a night as you’ll see from this group. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Grade: C

Offensive line

Sam Young wrecked Jay Cutler’s first series as a Dolphin with back-to-back holding penalties. His errors wiped out 50 yards in gains, on a pass to DeVante Parker for 31 yards and a 19-yard run by Jay Ajayi. Then, nobody picked up a linebacker on third-and-11, putting Cutler’s health at risk. Mike Pouncey is close to returning.  Can’t happen soon enough.

Grade: D

Defensive line

Let’s cut to the chase. The Dolphins got a steal in DT Davon Godchaux of LSU in the fifth round. Godchaux continues to cause offensive lines fits and has lapped enigmatic Jordan Phillips to see who lines up next to Ndamukong Suh. At one point in the spring, coach Adam Gase said the Dolphins couldn’t block Phillips. Other teams don’t appear to have that problem. Worse, Phillips was nailed for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at the end of the half.

Grade: B-minus

Linebackers

Mike Hull had another active evening and Deon Lacey added a handful of tackles but badly whiffed on a nothing screen pass that turned into a 40-yarder that set up a touchdown in the third quarter.

Grade: C

Defensive backs

Rookie CB Cordrea Tankersley showed great awareness by ripping a pass away from Quincy Adeboyejo, which took some doing since close calls go the receiver’s way. The play can only boost the confidence of Tankersley, whose workload figures to increase with the loss of Tony Lippett to a torn Achilles. Starting CB Byron Maxwell is in midseason form, forcing two fumbles in the first quarter. Xavien Howard made a picturesque, over-the-shoulder interception.

Grade: B-plus

Special teams

You don’t want to be around coordinator Darren Rizzi this weekend. Senorise Perry’s touchdown run? He followed by fumbling a kickoff, picking it up, then fumbling again, handing the Ravens a field goal. Later, the Dolphins had only 10 on the field when a snap surprised Matt Darr, leading to a blocked punt. There was plenty of blame to go around, including late-comer Deon Lacey, who was called for an illegal shift; Winston Chapman for snapping the ball; and possibly Darr and others for not calling timeout amid all the confusion. Later, Damore’ea Stringfellow was called for holding on a kickoff return. At that point, you’d seen so much of the train wreck, you had turn away.

Grade: F

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