The major story of Bryant McKinnie’s arrival in Owings Mills will have to take a back seat to some news coach John Harbaugh dropped during his post-practice podium session. Harbaugh announced that tight end Dennis Pitta may have suffered a broken hand during practice today.
Pitta was seen leaving the field with a trainer roughly an hour into practice and didn’t return. Initial thoughts from Harbaugh suggest that Pitta should be ready for the season opener September 10th versus Cincinnati if the hand is indeed broken.
Even it doesn’t appear that Pitta will miss much time during the regular season, the progression of the Ravens offense will take a minor hit as camp continues. For most of the team drills, Pitta has lined up as the primary tight end and his former fu-manchu’ed counterpart (Flacco) has been hitting him with crisp passes all over the field.
The Ravens will now have to turn their attention to Ed Dickson who has also looked decent in camp after battling some personal issues towards the tail end of last season. Dickson looks as if he’s reconnected with hands that betrayed him last season plus he carries his pads extremely well while displaying a burst that belies his 6’4”, 255 pound frame.
Pitta’s misfortune may spell opportunity for 2009 fifth round pick and career practice squad tight end Davon Drew. Drew’s practice squad eligibility has run out and Pitta’s injury increases the East Carolina Pirates’ chances of sticking with the final 53. Yet by no means is he guaranteed anything.
Battling Drew for a position is Bruce Figgins who will primarily be used as a blocking tight end. Figgins has a large frame (6’4” 278 lbs.) and he won’t strike fear in the hearts of opposing linebackers or safeties with his pass catching prowess.
Pitta will undergo an MRI tomorrow to confirm if his hand is broken.
Other Camp News
Injuries and MIA:
Coach Harbaugh gave some veteran players the day off as the team practiced in pads for the second time this training camp period. Ed Reed, Ray Lewis and Matt Birk stood on the sidelines wearing their jerseys and shorts only. Tandon Doss (hamstring) and Courtney Upshaw (shoulder bruise) were also present but didn’t participate. Tommy Streeter was the only major player missing in action and his absence wasn’t explained by Harbaugh after practice.
The addition of Jacoby Jones means the Ravens will stretch the field even more in Cam Cameron’s offense. Multiple times this camp, Joe Flacco has hit receivers for passes near 50 or more yards and he’s been extremely accurate. Flacco and Jones connected today earlier in practice during basic drills with a pass that was nothing short of perfection.
Mark my words – LaQuan Williams will be a significant contributor to the Ravens offense this season. Even though he will be listed 4th on the depth chart in my opinion, Cameron would be doing himself a great disservice by not finding a way to incorporate Williams in more four wide receiver sets.
Williams was targeted multiple times today and even though I wasn’t counting, he seemingly had the most passes thrown to him today during drills versus the defense.
During today’s practice the only notable item for the offensive line was that Kelechi Osemele saw increased repetitions at right tackle. Michael Oher still anchored the left tackle position and coach Harbaugh clarified that even if he passes his conditioning test, Bryant McKinnie must beat out Oher to earn his starting left tackle job back. McKinnie is being held out of practice with a lower back injury he suffered after a fall.
With Ed Reed not practicing today, Sean Considine filled in at free safety with the first team defense. Considine was primarily brought to Baltimore to contribute on special teams but going into his 8th season, he may fill in sporadically if Reed needs a rest.
Like Courtney Upshaw, Jimmy Smith suffered a shoulder bruise on Saturday but was healthy enough to practice. Smith’s left shoulder was wrapped in a noticeable ACE bandage which stuck out from beneath his pads.
Cary Williams had a great practice and even found himself in a heated argument with Tandon Doss. Williams was aggressive all practice long and even stuffed Deont’e Thompson on the line of scrimmage, knocking him off balance just after the snap on an obvious passing play.
Corey Graham continues to pay dividends on Steve Bisciotti’s investment during each practice. Graham tallied another interception on a pass from Tyrod Taylor intended for LaQuan Williams. With the addition of Graham at corner the Ravens for now seem to enjoy an embarrassment of riches in their secondary.
For Chykie Brown to make the team, he’ll have to contribute in a major way on special teams. Brown was running as a gunner on the first team during today’s practice.
Both Justin Tucker and Billy Cundiff missed 55-yard attempts today during practice. Both of them did connect on attempts from 20, 36 and 52 yards. Encouraging for Cundiff, his 52-yard attempt not only went through the uprights, but he also easily hit the net, which was at least six yards behind the goal post. So far, Tucker seems to be the kicker with the most leg strength but this was a good showing for Cundiff.
The Ravens practice again tomorrow at 2:30 and hopefully an update on Dennis Pitta’s injury will be available.
Follow me on Twitter @RavenManiac for more updates.