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Redskins' QB Griffin looks better at practice

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Redskins' QB Griffin looks better at practice

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Robert Griffin III moved better on his sprained right knee at practice Thursday, apparently improving his chances of playing in the Washington Redskins' game Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

``You could see he was more comfortable,'' coach Mike Shanahan said. ``He was improved over yesterday.''

As expected, Shanahan reiterated that he plans to wait as long as possible to announce whether Griffin or backup Kirk Cousins will start.

``We'll get a chance to see how Robert progresses during the week and make a decision, probably on game day,'' the coach said.

Griffin was officially listed as ``limited'' in practice. He stretched and made some basic throws during the 20 minutes that the session was open to reporters. He was still favoring his right leg somewhat, but he was able to plant and throw more smoothly than he did on Wednesday.

At one point, Griffin pantomimed taking snaps to the side while Cousins and third-stringer Rex Grossman ran a drill.

``You've got to have a good feeling that he can play at full-strength,'' Shanahan said. ``If he can do that, then he will play.''

Griffin has a mild sprain of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee after getting hit from defensive tackle Haloti Ngata late in regulation in Washington's 31-28 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

Griffin's status for Sunday could alter offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's game plan. If the less-mobile Cousins plays - or even if Griffin plays on a knee that's less than 100 percent - then the Redskins would be expected to rely less on the zone-read option that Griffin runs so well.

``Just the threat of it does help,'' Kyle Shanahan said. ``Hopefully he's healthy enough to play, then you're healthy enough to have the threat of the speed option, also.''

Kyle Shanahan said he's yet to see Griffin at full speed this week.

``I think Robert's going to be able to show that he can move well,'' Kyle Shanahan said. ``It's more: Is his knee stable enough, and can he protect himself in there, and is there a risk of further injury?''

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Five factors to predict Dolphins at Ravens this Sunday

Five factors to predict Dolphins at Ravens this Sunday

What: Dolphins (7-4) at Ravens (6-5)

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: M&T Bank Stadium

Ravens injuries:

OUT – TE Crockett Gillmore (thigh), G Alex Lewis (ankle), RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (thigh).

DOUBTFUL – RB Buck Allen (non-football issue).

QUESTIONABLE – WR Kamar Aiken (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (ankle).

Dolphins injuries:

OUT – C Maurkice Pouncey (hip).

DOUBTFUL – CB Xavien Howard (knee).

QUESTIONABLE – OT Branden Albert (wrist), LB Kiko Alonso (hamstring), G Jermon Bushrod (calf), RB Kenyen Drake (knee); LB Jelani Jenkins (knee/hand); DT Earl Mitchell (back); WR DeVante Parker (back); G/T Laremy Tunsil (shoulder).

Five questions you should ask:

1. Are the Dolphins ready to win a big road game in December?

Despite their six-game winning streak, the Dolphins are just 2-3 away from home. Now you’re asking them to win at M&T Bank Stadium, where the Dolphins are 0-2 all-time? We’ll see. The Dolphins will gain credibility as an AFC playoff threat if they win this game.

2. Can the Ravens put together a complete offensive performance?

Quarterback Joe Flacco wasn’t satisfied with the Ravens’ 19-14 win over the Bengals in Week 12. Actually, he hasn’t been satisfied with the offense all season.

“When you have a team 16-3, you would like to choke them out and get it over with,” Flacco said.

He knows the Ravens have to play better offensively to go on a December run. And part of that improvement starts with Flacco.

3. Can the Ravens’ offensive line handle Cameron Wake (8½ sacks) and Ndamukong Suh (five sacks)?

The Dolphins’ defensive line has the ability to make Flacco’s day miserable. The Ravens’ offensive line will need one of its better performances.

4. Which team’s running game will be most effective?

This could be the key to victory, because both teams want to run and utilize play-action passing. Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi (847 yards, 5.3 yards per carry) is a load, but the Ravens have the NFL’s top-ranked run defense. Ravens rookie running back Kenneth Dixon is coming off his best game (13 carries, 49 yards), and looks ready to share more carries with Terrance West (600 yards).

5. Can the Ravens get enough pressure on Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill?

Tannehill has nine touchdown passes and just one interception during the Dolphins’ six-game winning streak. The Dolphins like to get Tannehill outside the pocket and take advantage of his ability to throw accurately on the move. Tannehill’s game has grown under new head coach Adam Gase. If the Ravens don’t throw Tannehill off his rhythm, he will make plays.

Prediction: Expect a typical close Ravens game, but I see them squeezing out a critical victory, on the strength of Justin Tucker’s leg.

Ravens 20, Dolphins 17 

MORE RAVENS: How Ravens could still win AFC North

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CB Jimmy Smith expected to play, listed as questionable for Sunday

CB Jimmy Smith expected to play, listed as questionable for Sunday

OWINGS MILLS — Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins, but it appears Smith will play after missing the past two games with a back problem. Smith practiced all week, and head coach John Harbaugh sounded optimistic following Friday’s practice.

“He looks good,” Harbaugh said. “We weren’t sure early in the week if he was going to be able to go, and he just responded well and he looks good. It will mean a lot. It will help our defense. We’ll be really, pretty much, full strength out there.”

Three Ravens were declared out for Sunday’s game — tight end Crockett Gillmore (thigh), left guard Alex Lewis (ankle) and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (thigh).

Meanwhile, backup running back Buck Allen was doubtful due to a non-football issue.

“Buck had a personal issue come up,” Harbaugh said. “That’s the most I want to say about it right now. It’s just something that’s a personal issue right now that he’s dealing with. He may not be able to play in the game. We’re just going to have to see about that, where he’s at with it.”

MORE RAVENS: How Baltimore could still win AFC North