The absence of tight end Dennis Pitta because of a broken bone in his right hand has meant more reps in Ravens training camp for Ed Dickson.
“I’m taking a lot of reps, but it’s going to get me in better shape,” he said after Wednesday’s session at the team’s training facility in Owings Mills before acknowledging that he is a bit more tired at the end of practice. “I’m OK with it. During [the] two-minute [drill] today, I took the whole thing and usually Dennis comes get me halfway. And I was looking for Dennis. I was like, ‘Where’s Dennis?’”
Pitta, who suffered a broken bone in the hand Monday and underwent surgery the next day, is not expected to return to the Ravens until the regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 10 at the earliest. So that could shift the onus of the tight-end role to Dickson, but he shrugged off the idea of additional pressure.
“I don’t think it puts more responsibilities on my plate,” he said. “I already had a lot. I take control of myself and where I am in this offense, and I feel like I’m a leader in this offense. Now I’m growing into a leadership role. But it hurts to lose a guy like Dennis because he’s a great talent and we’re going to lose a lot of talent on offense. On the other hand, it’s an opportunity for those guys like [Davon] Drew, the two rookies [Matt Balasavage and Bruce Figgins] and Billy [Bajema]. So it’s an opportunity. And the good thing about that is, he’s going to be back in six weeks. I’m just taking that off the top of my head. But I’m going to get those guys ready, and I’m going to be ready to get more reps.”
Last season, Dickson ranked second on the team in touchdown catches (five), third in receptions (54) and fourth in yards (528) while starting in all 16 regular-season games and both playoff contests.
But he appeared to fade after a 10-catch, 79-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 13, recording more than 37 yards just once and scoring just twice. Meanwhile, Pitta registered two games of at least 40 yards and four touchdowns over the same span.
Dickson said last year’s numbers were nice in terms of establishing a base, but he is intent on improving those numbers and becoming a more dangerous weapon in the Ravens offense.
“I’m never satisfied,” he said. “Even if I made it to the Pro Bowl, I could still see myself where I need to get better. The day you start thinking to yourself that you’ve made it already, that’s the day you’re going to start slowing down. You always have to be a student of the game.”Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times