The Baltimore Ravens will be attempting to defend their Super Bowl crown without one of their best returning players in tight end Dennis Pitta, who will miss the entire 2013 NFL season after suffering a dislocated hip in practice last Saturday.
Pitta comes off a season in which he set career highs with 61 catches, for 669 yards and seven touchdowns for the Super Bowl champion Ravens. The fourth-year pro finished the 2012 NFL postseason with 14 catches for 163 yards and three touchdowns in four victories.
With him expected to miss the entire year, the Ravens will have effectively lost two of their top three receiving targets in Pitta and receiver Anquan Boldin. Pitta’s 61 catches were tied for second with Ray Rice behind Boldin, who was traded to the San Francisco 49ers during the offseason.
But that is where TE Ed Dickson comes in.
Dickson had just 21 receptions in 13 games for the Ravens last season, but the previous year he was in the same spot as Pitta: one of the team’s primary receiving options. In 2011, Dickson picked up 54 receptions for 528 yards and five touchdowns.
Don’t expect to see the production the Ravens get at the TE position see a significant drop-off in 2013, as Dickson has stepped up his game since becoming the team’s #1 TE:
Ever since starting tight end Dennis Pitta went down with a dislocated hip Saturday, backup Ed Dickson has picked up his game. The knock on Dickson, besides his inconsistency in catching the ball, was that he was a straight-line receiver incapable of finding holes in a defense. But he has found his groove in training camp and has been a factor in the long- and short-range passing games. He seems to be making the most of Pitta’s absence.