An Injury That May Change the Ravens’ Future

Wild Card Playoffs - Indianapolis Colts v Baltimore Ravens

It was the first time the Ravens suited up in their full combat gear this training camp and unfortunately for Dennis Pitta it was the last. Perhaps even his last as a Raven.

Injuries are part of the game and if a team is going to experience one as crushing as the loss of Pitta, now is the time. There’s more time to adapt and adjust.

The Ravens have always lived by the credo “Next Man Up” and this time will be no different than the times they absorbed body blows from the losses of Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb.

It’s now Ed Dickson’s time as he accepts the reins from his 2010 NFL Draft classmate. Time will tell if he does so successfully.

The combined usage of these two talented tight ends was supposed to help offset the loss of Anquan Boldin. Now the team will have to reset their plan – again!

Perhaps they turn to 33-year-old Maryland resident and former Morgan State University star Visanthe Shiancoe. The former 2003 third-round pick of the New York Giants coincidentally, observed practice with Ozzie Newsome on Friday.

Whatever happens rest assured offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell has a plan.

When Caldwell took over for Cam Cameron in 2012, he was somewhat saddled with an inherited offensive system. Clearly he used the hand-me-down system in a more productive way than his predecessor but this season it’s his turn to install his own scheme.

Since taking over as OC, there are two terms that have surfaced repetitively – “receiver distribution and location” and “taking the top off the defense”.

The terms tie together in that they are methods by which the route combinations dissect a given defense. Caldwell is all about taking the talents of his players and employing them in a way that allows each to succeed. That’s a bit different than taking talented players and forcing a system upon them.

Sound familiar?

The approach has changed Joe Flacco for the better. He’s been given a say in the offense – he’s taken ownership of it. No longer is he just a “game manager.” Caldwell wants him to be a difference maker. Clearly he was during the 2012 playoffs.

This approach enables the Ravens to move on from jolting losses like Pitta. They won’t ask Dickson to be Pitta or Billy Bajema or Matt Furstenberg to be Dickson. Caldwell with spread the field with the talent he has taking into consideration the input of his signal caller and his comfort level with each of his pass catchers.

When the 2013 season is said and done, who knows where it might leave Dennis Pitta who only two days ago was thought of as one of the teams big playmakers.

Pitta and Dickson are both free agents in 2014. What if Dickson is wildly successful this season? Could the Ravens choose to keep him over Pitta? If not how will they determine Pitta’s value? Clearly that discussion could leave the Ravens’ front office and Pitta’s representatives far apart at the bargaining table.

One collision during training camp clearly has a rippling effect.

It can change a season.

And it can alter careers.

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured, Lombardi's Way by Tony Lombardi. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

8 Raves on “An Injury That May Change the Ravens’ Future

  1. spy on said:

    Nice comments Tony , this injury broke my heart as I like Pitta very much and so does Flacco,,,,,,,,,,,Any second guessing by Ozzie on Boldin now ? Especially since they are decently under the cap ?????

  2. Daryan Ver Ploeg on said:

    This is the time where we really need to see what Juszczyk can do. If he can make the transition to a more traditional TE spot, maybe we can sign Leach back as our true fullback, and still have two capable Tight Ends. Dickson will be important as well, obviously.

  3. Mill on said:

    Obviously, Dickson has an opportunity to earn a huge payday here or somewhere else. But this injury just killed any chance that Pitta had at cashing in. He is going to be dirt cheap compared to what it might have cost the team had he stayed healthy. He’s going to have to take a “Sergio Kindle” type of deal and prove himself all over again. It sucks. It’s one of those “why do bad things happen to good people?” type of moments.

    At this point though, if I am Pitta, my focus is simply on not letting this thing end my career.

  4. JerryB on said:

    Cannot underestimate the significance of this loss, but the mantra is, and always has been, “next man up”! Having watched Matt Furstenburg at Maryland when Danny O’Brien was QB, he has tremendous potential as a pass catcher and may now become a viable option. Injuries are a part of the game and all teams have to deal with them. But, Flacco’s “go to” guy will be sorely missed……..

  5. john schultheis on said:

    The running game now more than ever must take over and be a force this year. This means sign Leach now, they need a blocking full back! Dickson has had injuries most years and drops too many balls. Other receivers are questionable at best as how productive they can be and Torrey Smithy will be double covered now for sure. Other receivers stats; doss 7 catches 1 TDS, Dickson 21 catches no TDS and Torrey Smith 49 catches 8 TDS. Between Boldin’s 65 catches and 4 TDs and Pita’s 61 catches10 TDS and 14 catches 163 yards in the playoffs and TDS it will a questionable group that JOe Flacco is working with. How good the rokkie fullback who is more of areceiver does and how Coach Caldwell uses him may play an important roll but I suspect this team reverts back to 60% runs and a solid DEFENSE!!

  6. Rumor Ray on said:

    John S. I disagree. I do not see the Ravens going back to high percent of runs. Torrey has earned the respect of double coverage, however that will open up the other guys. We have more talent in WR and TE then we have had in years. It is time for some new guys to make a name for themselves. Pitta will be missed, however I would think his days as a Raven are over. Once a new star starts to shine the fans will move on to support the next man up. Remember we would never find a replacement for HEAP????

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