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Dealing with loss of Dennis Pitta, Ravens confident in Owen Daniels' skills

He [Dennis Pitta] had surgery this afternoon. We do not have the results of the surgery, specifically yet," said coach John Harbaugh. "So, he is out for the season." (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)

Tight end Dennis Pitta's season-ending hip injury immediately triggered disappointment in the Ravens' locker room.

That mood has been boosted somewhat by the presence of two-time Pro Bowl tight end Owen Daniels, who will operate as Pitta's primary replacement.

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"Owen can take care of business. He's actually moving as good as I've ever seen him move," said Ravens tight end Phillip Supernaw, who played with Daniels previously for the Houston Texans. "I think he'll fit in perfectly."

Daniels has caught 10 passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns in three games since joining the Ravens this spring on a one-year, $1 million contract. In nine NFL seasons, Daniels has caught 395  passes for 4,687 yards and 31 touchdowns.

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Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's playbook is based heavily on double-tight end formations. He's expected to still utilize the tight ends as much as before, with Daniels carrying the majority of the workload now that Pitta is on injured reserve after fracturing and dislocating his right hip Sunday for the second time in the past year.

"It's really sad and I feel terrible for Dennis," Daniels said. "I thought we had a really good thing going, and it's unfortunate. I've been a starter since my rookie year and have carried the load for a while. It's not just going to come from me. It will come from everybody -- the wideouts and the whole tight end group."

Daniels will be backed up by rookie tight end Crockett Gillmore and Supernaw, who was promoted this week from the practice squad.

"I'm very excited for Philip," Daniels said. "I think he's one of the toughest players I've ever played with. He's willing to give it up and stick his nose in there."

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Supernaw played with the Texans before until being cut in May and signed by the Ravens, reuniting him with Daniels, Kubiak and tight ends coach Brian Pariani.

"Obviously, I'm pretty comfortable in doing everything," Supernaw said. "I've just been staying persistent, and it paid off. There's a certain level of comfort I get to have carrying over from Houston. I've learned a lot from Owen."

Plus, fullback Kyle Juszczyk is capable of playing tight end, H-back or flexing out to the slot. Juszczyk was an All-Ivy League selection as a tight end and H-back. He caught three passes for 54 yards against the Cleveland Browns, including a 9-yard touchdown on his first NFL reception.

"Gary finds a way to use people," Daniels said. "Tight ends will still be a really big part of this offense. We'll continue to get utilized and I don't expect anything to change in that respect. Gary has confidence in what I'm able to do and what the whole group is able to do."

End zone

Pro Bowl kicker Justin Tucker was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after connecting on a 32-yard game-winning field goal against the Browns. That marked his seventh career game-winning kick. "When one of us gets an award, it's like all of us gets it," said Tucker, crediting holder Sam Koch and long snapper Morgan Cox. "That's why we're professionals. I'm paid to make kicks and Sam serves it up and Morgan throws back laser beams. We try to make it look as easy as possible." … The Ravens plan to wear their black jerseys on Sunday.

awilson@baltsun.com
twitter.com/RavensInsider

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