OWINGS MILLS - As recently as two weeks ago, Ravens tight end Ed Dickson expressed skepticism regarding his availability for Baltimore's regular season opener against the Denver Broncos because of the partially torn hamstring he suffered Aug. 4.
At the time, Dickson said the hamstring was still sore and that there was no clear timetable for when he would be able to return to game action.
Since then, though, Dickson has returned to practice and has apparently made encouraging progress with the hamstring in the week since returning to the practice field.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said last week that, at that point, Dickson's hamstring had "really taken a turn for the better," and offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said Monday that Dickson's injured hamstring is "coming along well."
"Ed's looked good," Caldwell said. "He's running well. He's catching the ball well. He looks just as explosive as he did a few weeks ago before he was injured."
Dickson, of course, is going to be depended on to play a primary role in the Ravens' offense this year. He looked poised to take on a bigger role even before fellow tight end Dennis Pitta suffered a long-term hip injury early in training camp, but he's of even greater importance to the offense now with Pitta sidelined.
Fortunately for Baltimore, the likelihood of Dickson playing against the Broncos Sept. 5 appears much greater than it did two weeks ago.
Also, if you want to read into it, the Ravens' decision to release veteran tight end Visanthe Shiancoe Sunday could be a sign that the team is confident regarding Dickson's Week 1 availability.