With Pitta lost, Dickson ready to step up

With Pitta lost, Dickson ready to step up
July 28, 2013, 6:45 pm
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Clifton Brown on impact of Pitta loss, Shiancoe signing

Baltimore Ravens tight end Ed Dickson (84) catches a pass as San Francisco 49ers strong safety Donte Whitner (31) defends during the second quarter in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

(Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)

Ed Dickson knows the Ravens are expecting him to step up, with Dennis Pitta (fractured hip) done for the season.

Now the starting tight end, Dickson is embracing the challenge. However, before he talked about moving forward, Dickson spoke about what it felt like knowing Pitta would not return this season.

“My first reaction is I was very sad, just to lose a teammate, a brother like that,” Dickson said. “I’ve got 24 hours to grieve, and then it’s the next man up. That’s the mentality here.”

Pitta caught 61 passes last season for seven touchdowns. Not only is Pitta one of Flacco’s favorite targets, the two are close friends. Will Dickson and Flacco start hanging out together now? Not necessarily, but Dickson hopes their chemistry on the field will improve.

“The bond that they had was on and off the field,” Dickson said. “They eat breakfast and everything together. So, I’m not going to stalk Joe and follow him around, but I’m going to be right there in his pocket. Every little thing on the field – I’m going to master everything on the field, and even off the field. You’ve seen it with Joe and (Todd) Heap, and you’ve seen it with Dennis and Joe. So I want to get a little bit on that level.”

Dickson’s production dropped from 54 catches in 2011 to just 21 catches in 2012. The Ravens signed tight end Visanthe Shiancoe on Sunday, so if Dickson falters, the Ravens have another veteran alternative. In many ways, this is a pivotal season for Dickson, who is in the final year of his contract. He does not plan to waste it.

“You hate to get an opportunity in this fashion, but you have to relish the opportunity because it doesn’t come by that often,” Dickson said. “The team needs me to step up.”