Ravens TE Dickson could have bigger role as pass-catcher

Yes, the departure of Anquan Boldin has created an opportunity for some of the Baltimore Ravens' young wide receivers to carve out bigger roles in the Ravens' offense, but it's likely to bring about more opportunities for Baltimore's tight ends as well - not only Dennis Pitta, but also Ed Dickson.

"Obviously, there is a void to fill in that regard," Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said after an organized team activity (OTA) practice last week, "but we have some very, very capable people that can step in and do the job. ...

"Within our passing game and the way in which it's structured, we have some weapons almost at every position - obviously out of the backfield, and not only out of our backfield, but our two tight ends - Ed [Dickson] and Dennis [Pitta] are really, really fine players. ... There will be a number of guys that I think will be able to step up and make a few more plays for us."

Said Dickson: "Losing a guy like Anquan, it hurts, so, collectively, we have to all pull together. We've got a couple young guys coming in there [at wide receiver] ... and you can always put myself or Pitta in that position, so we're trying a whole lot of things and we're [going] to work it up through camp and then be rolling the first game."

Dickson was the Ravens' third-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft. He had 54 catches for 528 yards and five touchdowns in 2011, but his role diminished last season as Pitta emerged as a key part of the offense.

Dickson still started 14 of the 17 games he played in, including the playoffs, and he was on the field for nearly 50 percent of the Ravens' offensive snaps, but he had just 21 catches for 225 yards without a touchdown in the 13 games he played in during the regular season.

Dickson has struggled with drops at times in the past, but he's still a rangy, athletic player at 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds who has earned solid reviews through the Ravens' three OTAs and appears to be part of a group of players that have a chance to step into bigger roles in Baltimore's passing game this season.

Caldwell was asked last week whether he sees Dickson taking on a bigger role as a pass-catcher this season.

"I think so," Caldwell said. "We will balance [Pitta and Dickson] up. We used them a fair amount last year. I think you will see the same thing this year. We do have a great blend and mix of different personnel groupings. And with those two guys, they really give you some balance.

"Dennis [Pitta] is a very, very fine pass-route runner and he can catch the ball. He blocks well at the line of scrimmage. Ed [Dickson] can also take care of the line, but both guys can stretch the field. Both guys can catch the ball and run. Obviously, we will utilize them in a number of different ways."