The loss of tight end Dennis Pitta -- who could miss the entire preseason and maybe even the season opener because of a broken hand -- really hurts the Ravens.
Despite the team having another quality tight end in Ed Dickson, Pitta is the better of the two players. Dickson has more speed and is more of a deep threat, but Pitta has been more consistent catching the ball. He is also a better blocker on running plays, although both players needed to improve from a year ago. Dickson had become a liability as a blocker on short-yardage running plays.
Just as important was Pitta's versatility. Dickson could play on the outside as a receiver, but Pitta doubled as a fullback behind starter Vonta Leach. That's extremely important for a team that has only one fullback -- Leach -- on the roster. Pitta had become one of quarterback Joe Flacco's favorite receivers and the two had become close friends off the field as well.