Tuesday musings from the Ravens beat

September 18, 2012 | Luke Jones

However, Sunday’s loss to the Eagles brought about the question of whether Flacco is looking to the tight end too often in the passing game. Pitta is tied for fifth in the NFL with 23 targets as he’s seen as many passes thrown his way as Saints tight end Jimmy Graham and Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green have from their quarterbacks. In comparison to Pitta, only Rice has double-digit targets (15) among the other Baltimore pass-catchers.

In fairness to Flacco, wide receivers struggled to gain any separation against Philadelphia’s press coverage in Week 2 and Pitta was his only target able to get open with any level of consistency. However, it was concerning to see the fifth-year quarterback try to force the ball to Pitta when he faced double coverage in a few instances as was the case when linebacker DeMeco Ryans intercepted his third-down pass on the opening drive of the third quarter.

Concerns about Pitta becoming the new security blanket for Flacco are premature — the quarterback spread the ball around the field in the season-opening win against Cincinnati — but the quarterback clearly zeroed in on his favorite target while others labored against the Philadelphia secondary.

> Defensive end Pernell McPhee ultimately played against the Eagles on Sunday, but it’s starting to look like the right knee on which he underwent arthroscopic surgery in the spring might hinder him for the better part of the season. He missed two days of workouts last week before finally returning to the practice field on Friday and playing in Week 2. McPhee also received periodic days off during training camp as he continued to recover from the surgical procedure.

The second-year defensive lineman made three tackles and recorded one quarterback hit on Vick, but he hasn’t provided the pass-rushing threat the Ravens hoped he would to this point. In addition to the knee issue, McPhee has bulked up to 290 pounds this season in an effort to boost his ability to play the run in the Ravens’ 3-4 base defense.

The problem is the added weight puts more strain on the knee and may limit the explosiveness we saw last season when McPhee collected six sacks while being limited to only pass-rushing situations as a rookie. The Ravens are desperately looking for options to replace the production left behind by the injured Terrell Suggs and McPhee is a prime candidate to pick up some of the slack, but the results haven’t been overwhelmingly encouraging through the first two games of the season.

McPhee has four tackles and 1/2 sack so far this season.