Harbaugh: 'We made a number of mistakes'
Two months ago, the tight end position was one of the Ravens’ strengths. Then starter Dennis Pitta went down with a fractured hip and his top backup, Ed Dickson, was sidelined by a bad hamstring.
Now after the Ravens’ 49-27 loss at Denver on Thursday night, it’s apparent that the Ravens have major issues at tight end this season.
Dickson, who did not play at all in the preseason, and Dallas Clark, signed after Pitta’s injury, both struggled against the Broncos and did not appear to be in sync yet with quarterback Joe Flacco.
Last year, Pitta was one of Flacco’s go-to targets. He had 61 catches for 669 yards and seven touchdowns. When Flacco needed a key play, he often looked to Pitta.
Against Denver, when Flacco needed a key play and went to his tight ends, by and large they failed to deliver.
Clark dropped what would have been a sure touchdown late in the first half. Dickson dropped a couple of passes, though at least one came when he was clobbered just as the ball arrived.
Dickson was targeted five times and had just one catch for 13 yards. The Ravens will need more from that from their No.1 tight end, particularly in light of Jacoby Jones leaving with a knee injury.
Clark finished with seven catches for 87 yards, but as they say, looks can be deceiving. Clark was targeted a team-high 12 times by Flacco, and he had at least three drops, including a pass near the goal line late in the second quarter. The Ravens had to settle for a field goal on that drive.
It was apparent that Flacco and Ravens missed Pitta badly on Thursday in Denver. Pitta was placed on injured reserve-designated to return on Wednesday, meaning the Ravens are still holding out hope that he can return from his hip injury later this season.
But he will be out at least the first half of the season, so the spotlight shifts to Dickson and Clark. They need to be better than they were on Thursday night.