The trade of Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers leaves a significant and belligerent void, particularly in the slot. The
"We've got some tight ends who can pick up the slack,” assistant general manager
That could include the use of more two-tight-end sets in 2013.
With Boldin removed from the offense, the Ravens could dust off their "Diesel" package and more often use Pitta and Dickson together in a variety of alignments to keep defenses off guard.
The numbers suggest that the Ravens offense may have already been heading that way under new coordinator
According to Pro Football Focus data, the Ravens used their 22 personnel (two running backs and two tight ends) on 5.5 percent of their offensive snaps under offensive coordinator
Under Caldwell, who replaced Cameron after Week 14, the Ravens used their heavy 22 personnel less (3.8 percent of the offensive snaps) and their 12 personnel more (18.2 percent). Overall, they used two-tight-end sets on 22 percent of the snaps.
While Pitta and Dickson were on the field together more under Caldwell, the Ravens' use of their 12 personnel was still below the league average of 20.4 percent, according to Pro Football Focus.
That could change, though, with Boldin gone and Pitta, now in his fourth year in the NFL, coming off a breakout 2012 season.
The 27-year-old ranked second on the Ravens in receptions (61) and receiving touchdowns (seven) and was third on the team with 669 receiving yards. In four playoff games, he had 14 catches for 163 yards and three touchdowns. Pitta did a lot of his damage when operating out of the slot, which he often did at BYU.
A good example of this came in the blowout win over the
The Ravens used play-action to suck the linebackers in and Pitta had a favorable matchup against Raiders safety
"We do a little bit of everything with him because of the fact that he is so versatile," Caldwell said before the Super Bowl. "Often times, we can line him up, literally, anywhere we would like within our scheme -- all the way outside flexed to see what kind of matchup we can get on the outside or with a reasonable flex or tight."
Dickson, 25, had 21 catches for 225 yards and no touchdowns in the regular season, though he was more often used as a traditional in-line tight end. He had six catches for 90 yards in the playoffs.
Last season, Pitta played 848 offensive snaps. Dickson played 695. Blocking tight end
More snaps for Pitta and Dickson in 2013 could come at the expense of fullback
As I wrote last month, I am interested to see how the Ravens use Juszczyk, who is not your traditional fullback.
“He is a very versatile player,” coach
So while in theory, it would be 21 personnel if Juszczyk were on the field with, say, Pitta, running back
As the Ravens adapt to life without Boldin and continue to evolve as a passing offense, I expect they will try to get Pitta and Dickson (or Juszczyk) on the field together as much as possible. Similar to
As former Ravens defensive coordinator and current