All eyes have been on tight end Dennis Pitta to be one of Joe Flacco’s go-to receivers this season. But after suffering from a dislocated hip during training camp, someone else on the Baltimore Ravens roster will have to step up to replace Pitta after the season-ending injury.
That shouldn’t be too hard with Ed Dickson in the lineup, right?
Nothing comes that easy in football.
Ed Dickson left training camp on Sunday after suffering a slight hamstring tear. The team has decided to bench Dickson for a couple weeks to recover.
Prior to the injury, Dickson was focusing on connecting more with Flacco, since he would be taking on Pitta’s role. Pitta and Flacco are known for being great friends, a quality that shows on the field. Pitta has been Flacco’s safe choice when it comes to receivers and Dickson wanted to establish the same kind of chemistry with his the quarterback.
With Pitta out for the season and Dickson’s return date still questionable, the Ravens look toward newly acquired tight end Visanthe Shiancoe to fill the vacant position. The Ravens signed Shiancoe to a one-year deal only a day after Pitta’s injury. Shiancoe has been in the league for ten years and spent last season with the New England Patriots.
Reports out of training camp so far have all been positive regarding Shiancoe’s adjustment to the Ravens’ offense. But even for an NFL veteran, there is still a learning curve. Shinacoe knows all of the plays, but is struggling with the terminology. As soon as he becomes acclimated, he could be a huge threat on the Ravens’ offense.
The 6-foot-4, 250 pound tight end has the potential to be very dangerous in the red-zone. Shinacoe’s ability to convert in the red-zone, similar to Pitta, is what could make him stand out from the other tight ends on the Ravens’ roster.
Kyle Juszczyk could also see some time at the tight end position this season. While he is listed on the roster as a fullback, Juszczyk spent a great deal of time at halfback and tight end during his college career at Harvard.
Juszczyk’s versatility and ability to understand the game could help the Ravens tremendously this season. Not to mention he can catch, too. But his size leaves him at a disadvantage for the tight end position. He is about 3 inches shorter than the other Ravens tight ends and built more for a run game. But Juszczyk could be used more in the slot. Offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell had big plans for Pitta in the slot this season, and Juszczyk could be the right guy to replace him in that regard.
Pitta underwent surgery shortly after the injury occurred. The tight end went up to catch a ball in the end zone during training camp and landed on his knee, forcing his hip to dislocate. Further examinations indicated that he also suffered a fracture. But an MRI showed that Pitta is expected to make a full recovery.
While hearing that one of your team’s best receivers is out for the season is never a good thing, the Ravens have a lot of talent, versatility, and depth that will make the adjustment a little easier.