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Harbaugh says Ed Dickson isn't the same player that he was two years ago

When tight end Dennis Pitta dislocated and fractured his right hip during the preseason, many references were made about how productive his replacement was two seasons ago.

Ed Dickson caught a career-high 54 passes for 528 yards and five touchdowns during the 2011 season.

Although Dickson is big, strong and fast, his hands have been extremely suspect this season with his unreliability showing up again Sunday during a 23-20 road loss to the Buffalo Bills. Dickson allowed an accurate Joe Flacco pass to bounce off his hands for one of Flacco's five interceptions.

For the season, Dickson has caught only three passes for 25 yards and has dropped at least six passes.

It's been a rude awakening for Dickson and the Ravens, who have started him every week through four games and haven't given up hope that he'll snap out of this funk and start catching the football.

"That’s a long time ago, so I’m hard pressed to make that direct comparison," Harbaugh said of Dickson's 2011 season. "The stats kind of speak for themselves as you’re alluding to. He’s not the same player right now than he was then obviously. Ed just needs to go catch the ball. Make it easy: Run fast, get open and catch the football, put it away and get upfield.

"That’s all he needs to do. And if he’s thinking about anything besides that, he’s doing himself a disservice. And if he’s lacking confidence for some reason, that’s on him. When you have that kind of talent, those kinds of gifts, go play ball, go show everybody what you’re capable of doing. That’s what I expect to see from Ed.”

awilson@baltsun.com

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