Dennis Pitta dislocates hip, out for season opener
With tight end Dennis Pitta now expected to miss the entire 2013 season with a fractured hip, his injury will have a ripple effect on the Ravens.
Those who will be most impacted include:
Ed Dickson – He becomes the Ravens’ starting tight end, and the Ravens will need him to be more productive than last season. Dickson’s catches dropped from 54 in 2011 to 21 in 2012. However, his role just became more important, and Dickson will be counted on to deliver.
Joe Flacco – Flacco’s job as a quarterback will become more difficult after losing Pitta, one of his favorite red zone targets from 2012. The receiving corps that Flacco will be working with in 2013 is far less proven. He lost another clutch receiver during the offseason when Anquan Boldin was traded to the 49ers. There will now be a greater sense of urgency for Flacco to develop chemistry with other receivers like Tandon Doss and Deante Thompson, while top two receivers Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones will also be asked to pick up the slack. In key situations last season, Flacco often looked for Boldin or Pitta. In 2013, Flacco must look elsewhere.
Ozzie Newsome – The Ravens’ general manager may sign another tight end soon. Visanthe Shiancoe, a Morgan St. product who watched practice with Newsome on Friday, may be signed as a free agent. Newsome and the coaches may not feel comfortable giving more playing time to backup tight ends Alex Silvestro, Matt Furstenburg, and Billy Bajema. Dickson is a far better receiver than any of those three. Losing Pitta may also force Newsome to acquire another wide receiver before Week 1.
Jim Caldwell – Not having Pitta will impact how Caldwell, the offensive coordinator, formulates his game plans. The Ravens were expected to use more two tight-end sets this season featuring Pitta and Dickson. Not anymore. Now look for running back Ray Rice to remain a huge part of the passing game, and the Ravens could use more sets featuring three wide receivers. Whatever the case, the Ravens’ passing game will have a different look, one that does not include Pitta. Not a pleasant thought for the Ravens to begin their Sunday with. “Obviously, he (Pitta) has been a very, very productive guy for us,” Caldwell said Saturday. “He’s made a lot of big plays around here. We’ll see what happens and how long (he’s out). Somebody is going to have to step up.”