With the New York Jets coming into Baltimore Sunday night with former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan at the helm of the defense, points and scoring opportunities may be at a minimum for Joe Flacco, Cam Cameron, and the offense.
The Ravens play-makers-like Anquan Boldin, Ray Rice, and even the likes of Torrey Smith after his 3-TD performance Sunday versus St. Louis-are probably going to be focused on, so others are going to have to make contributions in the passing game.
One of those under-the-radar guys, but a player who is already making contributions in 2011-is Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta, who along with teammate Ed Dickson have been given the task of replacing an institution in Todd Heap, and he joined Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” this week to talk about how he’s settling into a familiar offense with some new faces.
Including his own.
“It’s really been a lot of fun,” Pitta said, “being a part of things and being able to contribute. I have a big role on special teams as well and it’s fun to be out there and competing with our guys.”
Pitta has seen action in all three games this year and started one. He has four catches for 69 yards, after catching one pass for one yard his rookie year in 2010.
He and Dixon both have had big shoes to fill in replacing the franchise’s best tight end in Todd Heap, but Pitta said they have handled the pressure well.
“This is a business where there is a ton of pressure,” Pitta said. “When it’s your turn to step up and the opportunity presents itself, you’ve got to perform and Ed and I knew that going into this year.”
But both tackled that adversity head on.
“We felt that pressure, but it’s all about being able to manage it and being confident in what you can do.”
And with playing time, he has gained confidence game-by-game. He has been an instrumental part in the Ravens’ two tight-end sets-not only making strides running routes but also protecting quarterback Joe Flacco along the line and helping to seal the edge for running back Ray Rice to run the football.
“You just have to continue to work hard and continue to prepare yourself as best you can,” the former BYU tight end said. “You know everyone has things to work on and I have things to work on…and I will continue to do so.”
Just getting more playing time with the first-team-let alone the reps in practice-have he and Flacco on the same page, he says.
“We have conversations everyday when we are practicing and when we are watching film,” Pitta said. “It’s about spending time with somebody and the repetition of running plays and catching balls from him.”
“That’s where that chemistry is developed…and it’s something that takes time.”
Facing the Jets defense Sunday night is even more reason for Flacco and Pitta to be on the same page as the quarterback may have to rely on his tight ends over the middle and in the short passing game.
“They are a lot like our defense,” Pitta told Clark. “You are going to see pressure from all over the field and all kinds of blitzes and some funky looks that a lot of other teams don’t do.”
Pitta said when it comes to pass-blocking-he’s made sure to do his homework this week with Rex Ryan’s elaborate blitzes coming his way.
“It’s just knowing how to adjust to it and how to pick up those blitzes and get the ball out of your hands quick and be able to run the ball and play physical,” Pitta explained.
Pitta said that it’s a copycat league, and all he really needs to do is look across the line of scrimmage to his own defenders and prepare accordingly to keep the Jets grounded.
“We saw it last year, and we see it every day against our defense,” Pitta laughed. “We should be well-prepared for it.”
And then a week’s worth of hard work is executed into 60 minutes of football.
“It comes down to those three hours we are going to be out on the field and deserving that win,” Pitta replied.
WNST thanks Dennis Pitta for joining “The Reality Check”! Be sure to tune into WNST Sunday for your “Nasty Purple Pre/Post Game Show with Glenn Clark! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!