I must say, when I received a text message that said, “Dennis Pitta more than likely broke his hand,” my heart sank. I thought the world was coming to a halt. Although I wished he was never hurt in the first place, luckily he hurt his hand now. While he may miss the entire preseason, I expect him to be active for the Monday Night Opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. Even if he sees limited action in that game, fans should not be extremely worried about the loss for the time being because it’s not like he’s missing any regular season games for the injury, as of now.
Ed Dickson was still the front-runner at the tight end position regardless of Pitta’s injury. While quarterback Joe Flacco is great friends with Pitta on and off he field, he still has good chemistry with both Dickson and Pitta. My main criticism of Dickson in the past has been that he makes the remarkable catches and drops the easy ones. Also, his run blocking ability is dwarfed by that of Pitta. However, Dickson has made some huge catches in his Ravens career and has provided Flacco with a seam threat in addition to wide receiver Torrey Smith.
Last season, Dickson had 54 catches for 528 yards and five touchdowns, solid numbers for a tight end in just his second year in the league and he plays for a team that focuses on establishing the run. Pitta complemented him with 40 catches for 405 yards and three touchdowns. Combine, the pair garnered 94 grabs for 933 yards and eight scores. In comparison to Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots (169 receptions, 2237 yards and 24 touchdowns), it may seem like night and day. However, the offensive philosophies are different and if the Ravens decided to air it out more, I’d have the uttermost confidence in them that Pitta and Dickson could be nearly as productive.
Since Pitta and Dickson are often viewed as a pair, it will be interesting to see how the preseason will fair for Dickson with former fifth-round pick Davon Drew filling the void left by Pitta. Drew has had a solid camp so far and the former East Carolina tight end is looking to take advantage of the opportunity in front of him. The good thing about Pitta’s injury is more reps will be had for Dickson and Drew. The bad? I was hoping to see Pitta snag the top spot from Dickson this year. I feel like he blocks better and has better hands, just not the open field speed that Dickson possesses. It will be interesting to watch the Ravens’ play-calling throughout the preseason in terms of how many times they use two-and-three tight end sets. Hopefully, the extra reps for Drew and Dickson will allow them to develop more and ease the stress of fans regarding this injury. The depth at this position is evident and I firmly believe that once Pitta returns, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will find new ways to light it up in the passing game with all three players, assuming they are healthy.
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