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Ravens looking for more productivity from tight ends

FootballBaltimore RavensJohn HarbaughMarlon BrownRay LewisJoe Flacco

The replacements for Dennis Pitta haven't been very productive or reliable through the first two games, with Ravens tight ends combining for 10 receptions for 126 yards and no touchdowns.

Ed Dickson dropped his fifth pass of the season Sunday and wasn't targeted again.

Dallas Clark caught one pass for 8 yards, and typical blocking tight end Billy Bajema was the leader at the position with a rare catch for 18 yards.

Pitta, who is on the injured reserve-designated to return list with a fractured, dislocated right hip that required surgery, has been using crutches and hasn't been ruled out for the season.

"Absolutely, those guys need to be a big part of what we're doing, they're fully capable of making catches," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "Ed should be a big-play guy up the seam.

"We need to get Ed going. People consider Billy to be a blocker, which he does a great job of, but for him to be able to get downfield and make some plays like that is important. Dallas had a couple of big plays. Those guys have to be a bigger part of what we're doing."

Quick start for Marlon Brown

Undrafted Ravens rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown hasn't been perfect through two NFL games. Nonetheless, Brown is off to a fast start as he learns on the job as a first-year starter.

The 6-foot-5, 205-pound former Georgia player has emerged as one of quarterback Joe Flacco's most frequent targets, catching eight passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

Brown leads the team in touchdown catches, ranks third in receptions, second in receiving yards and has a 13.8 average per reception.

"To come into a team where they have some wide receiver issues, I had an opportunity to come in and start playing early," said Brown, who caught four passes for 45 yards and a touchdown on six targets in Sunday's win. "I've just been trying to seize every opportunity I get."

Brown acknowledged that he should have caught a pass that he dropped in the first half.

"Those are catches we'd like to see Marlon make," Harbaugh said. "He's a big, tall receiver up the sideline. I felt like he slowed down a little bit. I felt like he gauged it a little more than he should have rather than just running to the spot and beating the ball to the spot and going up and getting it.

"So, that's probably an experience thing for him. ... Marlon has done a nice job. He works hard every day."

Flacco family time

Flacco was excused from practice Monday to stay in New Jersey with his wife, Dana, after she gave birth Sunday to their second son, Daniel, roughly an hour before kickoff.

The baby arrived about a week early, and Flacco wasn't able to be present because of the timing.

"We did give some time to stay up there because of getting up there so late," Harbaugh said. "I just talked to him through texts, and he seems pretty happy."

R. Lewis coming to town

Retired linebacker Ray Lewis will be in town Sunday for his induction into the Ravens' Ring of Honor.

A two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Lewis retired after the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII.

"It'll be great to see Ray for us," Harbaugh said. "I don't know how emotional we'll be about that. We'll be emotional about the game, and we'll feel great about Ray being here for that. It's a great honor. It's something we'll all take pride in. Maybe Ray will be ready to give us a little fire-up talk."

Doss contributes

Wide receiver Tandon Doss had a crisp game on returns in his first game since rejoining the team last week, averaging 14.3 yards on three punt returns with a long return of 22 yards and two fair catches.

"Tandon did a really nice job," Harbaugh said. "It was kind of neat. He really solidified us back there with Jacoby being out."

After being released, Doss worked out for the Green Bay Packers. He said he had no hard feelings toward the Ravens and preferred to play for them, signing a one-year, $555,000 contract.

"It's all business," he said. "You have to be professional about it."

End zone

Operating as one of the Ravens' top two cornerbacks in the base defense, Jimmy Smith upgraded his play markedly from the Denver game as he deflected a team-high three passes. "Jimmy Smith had a very strong game," Harbaugh said. ... Harbaugh gave solid reviews to rookie free safety Matt Elam, who had five tackles and one pass interference penalty in his first NFL start. "I thought he played really well," Harbaugh said. "He did what a young safety probably should do: He played to keep everything in front of him. There were some things that he probably could have played a little bit tighter at times. He played with a lot of maturity in that way, and it was good to see."

awilson@baltsun.com

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FootballBaltimore RavensJohn HarbaughMarlon BrownRay LewisJoe Flacco
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