With starting tight end Todd Heap sitting out two consecutive days of practice, it's becoming increasingly apparent that Ravens rookies Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta will get extended playing time in Monday night's game against the Houston Texans.
Both have played sparingly this season. Dickson has caught eight passes for 112 yards, while Pitta has caught just one pass for one yard.
Executives in the organization's front office had high hopes when they selected Dickson and Pitta in the third and fourth rounds of this year's draft, respectively.
One might even say that the plan was that Dickson and Pitta would develop into receiving threats in a similar manner to how the New England Patriots rookie tight-end duo of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski has blossomed.Hernandez is tied for eighth among all NFL tight ends in touchdowns (four) and 11th in receiving yards (513). Gronkowski is third in touchdowns (six) and tied for 26th in yards (322).
Ravens tight ends coach Wade Harman said the offense wouldn't object to incorporating Dickson and Pitta into a game plan on a more regular basis.
"I think they both have a good chance of being in there," Harman said. "The thing you've got to realize is if we put both of those guys in there, who are you taking off the field? Are you taking [wide receiver] Derrick Mason off? Are you taking [wide receiver] Anquan Boldin off? Are you taking [fullback] Le'Ron McClain off? So there's a balance between getting your players that are experienced and that are your best players on the field and getting these young guys developed so that they're going to be very good players for us down the line."