Safety Eric Rowe said it before this week and he said it again Thursday: He has been looking forward to getting the chance to again face Darren Waller for a while now.
Waller put up big numbers in the game at Las Vegas last year with Rowe shadowing him much of the night, though it needs to be pointed out that the coverage usually was good but Waller simply won the battle for the ball on most occasions while finishing with five catches for 112 yards.
So how much has Rowe been looking forward to it?
“Yeah, since I came off the field after that game," he said. "I know we came out with the win but just personally I know that I was there in position and just needed to take that extra step and either knock it down or catch the ball. It was right there. Obviously you have to put it in the past because that’s the past. Different teams each year. We’ve got a different team and they’ve got a different team. Maybe (some of) the same players. This week coming up will be something new.”
After Rowe played only 26 of 65 defensive snaps against Buffalo last Sunday, one can wonder whether the Dolphins will use him against Rowe to the same extent they did last December.
If they do, Rowe will be looking to take a next step and make plays on the ball.
WHERE'S THE CATCH?
While the offensive line has received the most heat for the poor performance of the offense against Buffalo, it certainly wasn't a very good outing for the wide receivers.
Albert Wilson dropped two passes, same with Jaylen Waddle, DeVante Parker failed to make a relatively routine catch in the end zone, and Jakeem Grant fumbled after a short reception.
Asked Thursday about the position group wanting to get some redemption this week, Wilson said there was no question.
"We’ve just got to catch the ball," he said. "That’s our job. That’s what they expect us to do. That’s what the team expect us to do. That’s what the world expects us to do. We just have to have them. I know myself, I was just excited out there trying to make things happen. I kind of tend to leave the ball, so that’s what happened. But myself, I got to bring those in to have those for the team.”
Wilson also said that the Dolphins maybe were a bit overconfident after their Week 1 victory at New England.
Would say we were kind of feeling ourselves, I guess so," Wilson said. "We definitely got humbled by Buffalo. We know we’re a good team. We know if we execute right, do the right things, listen to our coaches and be where we need to be, we know we’ll be able to compete with anybody in this league. We’ve just got to get back to doing the small things right, making sure we’re doing our assignments. I don’t think we’ll have a problem with this game coming up, or any issues or any trouble like that.”
The Dolphins practice report remained the same, though that was to be expected considering the team just did a walk-through Thursday and the report represents an estimation.
As a result, QB Tua Tagovailoa (ribs) still was listed as a non-participant; Jakeem Grant (ankle) and Jesse Davis (knee) each were listed as limited; and WR DeVante Parker (shoulder), WR Preston Williams (foot) and DE Emmanuel Ogbah (groin).
The Raiders injury report had two changes from Wednesday: DE Yannick Ngakoue (hamstring) went from being limited to a full participant; S Johnathan Abram (Achilles) was aded to the injury report, though he was listed as a full participant.
Most importantly, running back Josh Jacobs (ankle) and former Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (calf) did not practice for a second consecutive day.
CATCHING UP WITH KENYAN
With Jacobs inactive with injury, the starting running back for the Raiders in their 26-17 victory at Pittsburgh last Sunday was none other than Kenyan Drake, a third-round pick of the Dolphins in 2016 who played three-plus seasons before being traded to the Arizona Cardinals.
Drake was with the Arizona Cardinals last season, but he had to miss the game against the Dolphins last November because he was nursing an ankle injury.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hyped for this game," Drake told Raiders reporters Thursday. "Obviously, I've got a lot of history with the Dolphins. A lot of the players that I played with and kind of came up with our are on the team. The coaching staff that was there my last year when I got traded is still there. No bad blood or anything, but definitely want to go out there and just play to my highest capability.
Among the former Dolphins teammates that Drake will see Sunday is linebacker Jerome Baker, who smiled when he was asked about facing the running back.
“That’s going to be fun," Baker said. "That’s my boy. We’ve been competing for so long. Now that I actually get to hit him, and really compete in a game day setting, it’s going to be fun. I’m definitely excited to go against him.”
Drake had only 9 yards on seven carries against Pittsburgh, though he did catch five passes out of the backfield.