Since succeeding Todd Heap as the Ravens’ primary tight end at the beginning of last season, Ed Dickson has been a reliable option for quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense.
But in the team’s 23-16 win against the Cleveland Browns last Thursday, Dickson did not catch a single ball for the first time since 2011. Flacco did not even target Dickson, which is also a first over that same span.
Dickson, the organization’s third-round pick in 2009, conceded that being overlooked in the offensive game plan was frustrating.
“As a playmaker, it is, but we got our overall victory,” he said Wednesday. “That’s the way you look at the game. Cleveland did a lot of things well, and it started with the weather conditions taking away a couple guys. And [wide receiver] Anquan [Boldin] was playing unbelievable. When a guy’s on a heater like that, you’ve got to force him the ball. So I understood a lot of it. It’s just that in my mind as a playmaker, it is a little frustrating. But you turn to the other things. We knew that we had the lead, and rain conditions forced us to run the ball a little bit more. So I tuned into run blocking and stuff like that, and I know that in a different game, we’re probably going to see more balls.”
Dickson ranked second on the Ravens last year in touchdown catches (five), third in receptions (54) and fourth in yards (528), but his production has dipped since flip-flopping with Dennis Pitta on the depth chart after the team’s season-opening 44-13 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals.
In four games this season, Dickson has caught five balls for 50 yards, puting him at seventh in both categories. Dickson, who made five receptions for 59 yards in last year’s season-opening victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, has yet to find the end zone in 2012.
Dickson denied that his role has changed since ceding the starting role to Pitta.
“Dennis came on strong at the end of the season last season, and we know he’s a playmaker. Myself, I’m a playmaker,” Dickson said. “Joe has so many weapons that he can look for. I know my time’s coming. I’m just being patient and being an overall team guy like I always am. I’m taking my attention and picking up a little bit on special teams in the blocking game. I know my catches are coming. It’s just a very slow start right now.”
Dickson said he has drawn inspiration from Boldin, who had caught 10 passes for 118 yards and one touchdown in the first three contests before his nine-reception, 131-yard showing against the Browns.
“Q didn’t catch the ball for a couple games, and then he blows up and gets nine catches in this game,” Dickson said, referring to Boldin by his nickname. “You’ve just got to be patient in this offense, and your time will come.”