For the first time in almost a month, the Ravens had their top two tight ends on the practice field together, and the sight of Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta was an encouraging sign for coach John Harbaugh.
“It’s good to get them back out there and get them running around,” Harbaugh said after Saturday’s practice at the team’s training facility in Owings Mills. “They’re both catching passes and moving. They’ve both done a great job of staying in shape. They’ve both been in the weight room, doing cardio. So yeah, it’s a good sign.”
Dickson, who ranked second on the team in touchdown catches (five) and third in receptions (54) last year, and Pitta, who ranked fifth in both catches (40) and receiving yards (405), were limited in practice. Dickson said although he’s not dealing with any limited mobility in the right shoulder that he sprained catching a nine-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco in the second quarter of an eventual 31-17 win against the Atlanta Falcons on Aug. 9, he’s still being cautious.
“Very limited out there. I didn’t want to overextend anything,” he said. “But ever since the day I went down, I have been working to get back – stay in condition, get out there and run with the team. Doing things as a team helps me a lot and helps my confidence and helps everything around that.”
Pitta wore a red, non-contact mesh over his usual jersey and said the surgically-repaired bone in his right hand has not fully healed enough to allow him to catch passes at full speed.
“Each day, it is getting better,” Pitta said of the hand that he injured July 30. “I’m continuing to rehab, doing what the trainers want me to do and just taking it day-by-day. That’s all I can do and hope to be back as soon as possible.”
During their absence, Billy Bajema has started in each of the past two preseason games. Bajema, who signed with the team Aug. 1, bounced back from a zero-catch outing against the Detroit Lions Aug. 17 to grab three balls for 26 yards in Thursday night’s 48-17 rout of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The remaining tight ends on the roster, Davon Drew and rookies Matt Balasavage and Bruce Figgins, have combined for five receptions for 34 yards. Dickson said he thinks his return and that of Pitta’s will help the offense in its continuing evolution.
“We’re a couple veteran guys, we’ve been here a couple of years, and we know what we’re doing,” Dickson said. “We aren’t 100 percent out there, but once we get back, we’re going to pick it up from where we are right now and pick it up day by day.”
Dickson and Pitta will have to work quickly to regain their chemistry with Flacco and the rest of the receivers, but Pitta didn’t sound worried.
“That’s something we’ve been developing for a few years now, and I don’t think it’s something that you lose right away,” he said. “So I think it will come back quickly once I am able to start jumping in there and running with the offense.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun