The Ravens drafted Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta last season with the hope of developing a dual-pronged attack at tight end.
Some might say that The Houston Texans, Sunday’s opponent, have already achieved that in Owen Daniels and Joel Dreessen.
A Pro Bowler in 2008, Daniels has teamed with Dreessen to be an effective 1-2 punch in the intermediate passing attack for the Texans offense under coach Gary Kubiak. It’s an option that hasn’t escaped the attention of Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano.
“Owen Daniels, as you know, is a top target and poses you some problems, some matchup issues,” Pagano said during his weekly briefing Thursday. “So you’ve got to do a great job of No. 1, locating where he’s at because they’re going to move him all over the place and do that to try to get the right matchup that they want. And then Dreessen, you can’t fall asleep on him. He catches a 56-yard throwback off one of their bootleg passes for a touchdown last week. So we’ve got to do a good job with those players.”
In Houston’s 25-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders, Daniels and Dreessen combined for 12 catches for 201 yards. Daniels was quarterback Matt Schaub’s favorite target, catching seven passes for 89 yards.
Dreessen’s 112 yards on five receptions ranked second to running back Arian Foster’s 116-yard outing on five catches, and Dreessen did score the aforementioned touchdown.
Ravens inside linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who helped limit New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller to two catches for 12 yards on Oct. 2, said Daniels and Dreessen pose a much different challenge.
“With Dustin Keller, we all knew he was a threat, but now you’ve got an even better quarterback throwing to a tight end who is a Pro Bowl tight end,” Ayanbadejo said. “So that just makes him that much more lethal to have two guys, not just one. Dreessen had 112 yards last week, and usually he’s their run-to tight end. So they’ve got some weapons. They’ve definitely got a formidable offense. You’ve just got to throw different schemes at them to take them out of their element.”