Ed Dickson isn’t a traditional tight end. He looks more like a tweener in the mold of the Saints’ Marques Colston. Dennis Pitta on the other hand is a bit more like Todd Heap. Both will see time in Houston against the Texans this coming Monday Night.
Now that Cam Cameron knows that he’ll be without the services of Heap, it will be interesting to see how he uses the skill sets of Dickson. Not an accomplished blocker by any stretch of the imagination, Dickson does bring size and speed and if used properly he can be a mismatch. He carries his pads very well which is to say that he runs in equipment nearly as fast as he does in shorts. Linebackers can’t keep up with him and defensive backs can’t match his ball skills and hops.
Speaking of Cameron, it’s encouraging to see him accept responsibility for the Ravens failure and even more encouraging is his commitment to reverse the course of his struggling offense. Could the loss to Pittsburgh actually play out to be a blessing in disguise? Will Cameron feast on a dish of Testosteroni & Meatballs and go for more kill shots? Monday Night will tell us a lot.
The Texans are getting ready to host the Ravens and they field one of the league’s worst defenses. The Texans are ranked 29th in total defense, 10th best against the run and next to last in the league at defending the pass. A healthy dose of Anquan Boldin looks to be in order but don’t be surprised to see Cameron go against the grain and try to reinvigorate a slumping rushing offense that uncharacteristically ranks 16th in the league. Word is the team had a great practice on Friday. Let’s hope that translates well to the field at Reliant Stadium
Houston will sport their all red uniforms on Monday, a look referred to as Battle Red. They look more like condiments at Five Guys. Maybe in the spirit of the season they’ll wear green helmets and white beards too?
Up in Smoke? David Reed is getting a lot of attention these days for all the wrong reasons. Baltimore County police raided Reed’s Owings Mills apartment after receiving a call about potential narcotic activity. Police confiscated evidence but charges were not filed. Since Reed wasn’t immediately arrested it is believed that at worst he’ll face a misdemeanor charge. One team official informed 24×7 that nothing was found. Reed will play in Houston on Monday night.
Last year, Michael Oher looked like a steal when drafted No. 23 overall in the 2009 NFL Draft. This season he has struggled often at left tackle and he is the team’s most penalized player. He’ll need to answer his critics with a turnaround in his performance. In 2009 the team boasted and expressed surprise about how Oher was available so late in the first round. This season some are looking at players like Clay Matthews, Vontae Davis and Hakeem Nicks and they wonder aloud how those players might look in purple.
As for the rest of the offensive line, look for the Ravens to stick with Oher at left tackle and augment the line in the draft on the right side. Word is the Ravens would like to add a right tackle or guard depending upon the availability of players on their draft board. The team is said to be very pleased with the play of Marshal Yanda at right tackle but would prefer to move him to guard where they think he has the potential to be an All Pro.
The time will come in 2011 or 2012 to move on from Matt Birk. Insiders believe that Chris Chester can be a very good center against a 4-3 defense but they have concerns with him against a 3-4 and that’s an alignment synonymous with Dick LeBeau’s defense in Pittsburgh. Therefore don’t expect the Ravens to hand that job over to the 2006 draft’s 56th overall pick.
Chester is the topic of conversation in Pittsburgh. Several Steelers have accused him of taking a cheap shot at James Harrison’s legs on the Ravens’ extra point attempt in the first quarter of Sunday Night’s game. While Chester is a mild mannered guy and not known to be a dirty player, the move was very curious. Offensive linemen don’t fire out on extra point attempts and the Steelers may actually have a case here.
All of the Steelers belly aching doesn’t excuse the motives of Hines Ward on Sunday. Ward, voted the NFL’s dirtiest player by his peers in a poll conducted by Sports Illustrated was at it again against the Ravens and his targets were Dawan Landry and Ray Lewis. As evidenced by the video below, Ward hits defenseless players after the conclusion of a play. His hit on Landry occurred as the ball carrier Mike Wallace was heading out of bounds and his hit on Ray Lewis took place away from the play and judging from the looks of it, after the play was over and decided.
Baltimore Magazine had a feature recently allowing its readers to get a feel for what it’s like to be a Raven. They asked Ray Lewis what it felt like to come out of the tunnel during pregame introductions.
“I pray all the time. That’s my time alone. The crowd is crazy, but I give God every piece of my energy, because I know what I’m about to go do to my body. I really go into my own zone when I’m there to completely be free. That’s the way I play.
“I don’t like nothing else outside of the pure moment of the competition. When they introduce me, you can’t hear, but that’s the electricity that’s going through the building. It’s just like ‘boom!’ ’cause everybody’s screaming so loud. I never plan it. It’s only in the moment. I deal with God directly, so when he gives it to me, I give it to [the crowd]. That Sunday will never be again. That’s what I always relay to them. I don’t care what you do, don’t hesitate on nothing, just play the game out, let the game take care of itself, because once this game is over, it’s over. That’s why it has to be about that moment. Whether it’s a game, whether it’s business, whether it’s kids, whether it’s life, it’s always that moment that you gotta be prepared.”
Other players feature in this interesting Baltimore Magazine piece include: Ray Rice, Joe Flacco, Haloti Ngata, John Harbaugh, Terrell Suggs and Anquan Boldin.
The violence of the game is often understated and fans don’t see what these players go through during the days following a game to restore their bodies. Ray’s comments remind us of that.