Dickson expected to play

Dickson expected to play
December 22, 2012, 7:45 pm
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The Ravens' struggling offense could get a lift on Sunday against the Giants with the return of tight end Ed Dickson, who has missed the past three games with a knee injury.

Dickson, who was limited in practice earlier in the week, was a full participant at practice on Friday and is listed as probable.

It has been a frustrating season for Dickson, who made 54 catches for 528 yards and five touchdowns last season but won't get close to those numbers this season. With two games to play, Dickson has 14 catches for 152 yards and has not caught a regular-season touchdown.

He had one touchdown catch in the preseason opener, but suffered a shoulder injury on that play and missed the remainder of the preseason. Dickson returned to action in the season opener, but his role in the offense was diminished and then he suffered a knee injury while working on special teams at San Diego.

One of the Ravens' preferred offensive sets is the "diesel," with both Dickson and starting tight end Dennis Pitta on the field together. They haven't shown that look nearly as much with Dickson inactive and No. 3 tight end Billy Bajema taking his place. Bajema, more of a blocking tight end, has not made a catch all season.

Another area where Dickson's return could help is on third down: The tight ends have been a popular target for Joe Flacco on third down, and third-down conversions have been at the heart of the Ravens' offensive struggles of late.

For the season, the Ravens have converted 35.4 percent of third downs, which ranks 23rd in the league. Against the Broncos last week, the Ravens were 1-for-12 on third down.

The Ravens need a lot of players to get healthy if they want to make a deep playoff run, and even though his numbers are down this season, Ed Dickson is one of them.