Many players have been seen going down so far in the NFL during training camp. For the Eagles it was Jeremy Maclin, whom many figured the talented speedy reciever to play a huge part in Chip Kelly’s new offense. For Seattle it was Percy Harvin who just joined the team adding to the arsenal of receivers Seattle would have making for one of the best recieving cores in the league. Finally, for the Ravens, Dennis Pitta has now gone down with a dislocated hip and he is out for the season.
For an offense that has already lost key pieces in center Matt Birk and more importantly WR Anquan Boldin this is a huge loss for the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens. The Ravens before this injury were already short-handed at the receiving position and Dennis Pitta was expected to shoulder much of the load with Anquan Boldin gone. Even with Pitta Baltimore was expected to get help at the recieving position and now it seems apparent that they will. They did sign Visanthe Shiancoe to the veteren minimum but that does seem to be a very relevent signing as his biggest season was 2009 and he has regressed every season since. Last season he appeared in 4 games but did not play and did not record any stats. This signing is just to add much-needed depth to the tight end position.
What will the Ravens do now? For starters, Visanthe Shiancoe and Billy Bajema will now be the second and third string tight ends. The Ravens will now look to Ed Dickson, the Oregon product to shoulder most of the load. Although Dickson has not produced very much his first three years there is no doubt he has the talent and athleticism to be one of the best tight ends in the NFL. The fact of the matter is that Dickson is way more talented than Pitta and if he can work on being a more sure-handed receiver the Ravens will be fine. This is a big “if” however as dropping passes has been a norm for Dickson throughout his short NFL career. Another weakness of Dickson is blocking. This could pose a problem for the Ravens offense that first and foremost goes through running back Ray Rice and with offensive linemen Marshal Yanda being injured and Vonta Leach no longer on the team Rice could have some problems with getting space. First things first the Ravens need a reciever. I am hoping for them to go after Brandon Llyod who had a solid season last year with the Patriots. I do not see the Ravens trading for anyone especially any great player whom they would have to give a 1st or 2nd round draft pick for. Remember the last time they traded a 1st round pick away? Neither do I. Getting a Brandon Llyod or possibly Dallas Clark from free agency will be a start. The Ravens will have to hold their breath on Yanda but it is looking like he will be ready for the start of the season. Although Caldwell did not use Vonta Leach a lot last season, his blocking and hard play is something the Ravens will need and at this point in time there does not seem to be much of a choice.
One last thing to look out for is rookie TE Matt Furstenberg out of the University of Maryland. He could figure into the equation somewhere in the end of the season or in the next couple of years. His numbers do not reflect his talent as he never had a great quarterback throwing to him while at Maryland especially his senior year where for 4 games last season he had a fourth string quarterback who was a linebacker trying to throw to him. The fact of the matter is he has great hands, he is a decent blocker, but needs to develop his route running a bit. For those still panicking just remember the Ravens are a championship organization and they have GM Ozzie Newsome who always has a plan. This team will be okay. This is not the end all for the Ravens as I still think they will at the very least grab the wildcard and make it to the playoffs but it will make a journey back to the Super Bowl a lot tougher.