NEW ORLEANS — The first time
The first touchdown of
Pitta had three touchdowns last season, but this year he has become a key part of the Ravens' offense and a favorite target for quarterback
Pitta's contributions have caught the eye of the 49ers as the teams prepare to meet again Sunday for
"He has emerged to be a good tight end for them," 49ers linebacker
"I still say that there are very few linebackers that go out there and they cover the way that I do in our packages. It will be a great challenge to go out there and showcase not only play the run and play in the box, but I can play outside of the box as well. It's going to be a key point I'm sure when I am on him. I am looking forward to the challenge."
But as a unit, the tight ends give the Ravens an added dimension, said Pitta who had 61 catches for 669 yards this season.
"You know, their whole defense has talent all over the board," Pitta said. "We'll have our work cut out for us but we are excited about the challenge. This is definitely the best linebacker corps we've seen. I get to see a pretty good one every day at practice. As far as an opponent, these are definitely top in the league."
Playing against the 49ers in the Super Bowl
"I was a big fan of Steve Young," Pitta said. "He was a BYU guy as well.
Tight ends have had sporadic success against the 49ers.
Since the teams played each other last season, Pitta said there aren't many changes.
"They're real similar, a lot of the same players," Pitta said. "Obviously, they've added a great pass rush and all these spins on the outside that wasn't around when we played them last year. The key factor is their ability to get to the quarterback and that's the guy you have to account for. They're better than they were last year, but real similar."
And Pitta is better than he was last season.
"I've gotten more opportunities to contribute and I've been able to make the most of those opportunities," he said. "That's what this league is about. When you get an opportunity you've got to be able to capitalize and over the past few years I've been able to do that."