With the exception of fullback Vonta Leach, an argument could be made that tight end Ed Dickson was the most underutilized player in the Ravens offense under former coordinator Cam Cameron.
When healthy, Dickson has received plenty of snaps on the field but that hasn’t translated into receptions. His hands have been questioned at times and the reduced passes thrown his way may have been the result of being in Cameron’s doghouse.
“It kind of shocked me a little bit but it’s the nature of this business,” Dickson said when asked about the termination of Cameron. “If he’s not getting things done, we’ve got to find someone to get things done.”
With Jim Caldwell now running the Ravens offense, things may change for Dickson and his role could expand. Tight ends were historically focal points for one of Caldwell’s former mentees, Peyton Manning.
Dickson’s fellow tight end Dennis Pitta has demanded most of the attention out of the duo. This season, Pitta has posted 50 catches, 488 yards and five touchdowns compared to Dickson, who has been held scoreless and only caught 14 passes for 152 yards.
The New England Patriots have the most effective duo of tight ends in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, who were both drafted in 2010 like Dickson and Pitta. While Pitta has developed into a consistent player, Dickson has been underutilized, especially for a player who, much like Hernandez, is light in his pads and could be compared to a wide receiver.
Whatever his role may be, Dickson hasn’t been a distraction and remains a team player focused on getting better.
“This team has their backs against the wall,” Dickson said, despite his team being 9-4 and still possessing a two-game lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.
“There’s no panic though, no panic,” Dickson said. “I had a great conversation with Jim Caldwell and he said it’s the teams that go through adversity, get through problems and find a way to work it out – they’re the great teams.”
“We know the things that are in front of us and we know what we have to do,” he said. “We’re going to go back to the drawing board and do the things right, and it starts with a great practice today.”
Dickson’s biggest priority is rehabbing a knee injury that has sidelined him the past two weeks. He practiced in a limited capacity on Wednesday.
“It’s day-to-day,” said Dickson. “I’m living in the treatment center, getting it ready. I don’t want to be out there 50 percent, [this team] needs 100 percent from me.”
Getting back onto the field will be refreshing for Dickson just as many hope the change in coordinators will be refreshing for the team.
“The things [Jim Caldwell] has done in these last couple of days, we’re excited,” Dickson said. “He has everybody ready, willing to work, and willing to follow his leadership. That’s the main thing you can have with a group you take over so late in the season.”
“It’s up to the players to pull together and get it done, with the change made this late, it’s up to us to get it done.”