Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce took turns tearing through defenses last season. But in the second quarter of the Super Bowl, the Ravens sent the Pro Bowl running back and his rookie understudy onto the field together for the first time all season.
Apparently in the two weeks after the season-ending injury to tight end Dennis Pitta, the Baltimore Ravens had seen enough of their young receiving corps and a patchwork group of tight ends to decide they needed to bring in a pair of veteran slot specialists.
Wanting to add more depth at wide receiver and give quarterback Joe Flacco a couple of reliable, veteran targets, the Ravens struck deals with wide receiver Brandon Stokley and tight end Dallas Clark, two former Indianapolis Colts who have familiarity with offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell.
The Ravens defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Thursday night's preseason opener. While many of the starters only played a quarter, they were in there long enough to make a few observations about when and how certain players were being used and what formations the Ravens were lining them up in.
As soon as he saw the ball hit Dennis Pitta's hands, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw his arms up in the air anticipating a touchdown. Pitta had made similar plays so many times last season and there was nothing to suggest that Flacco's first throw during the Ravens' third full-team practice would result in anything different.
The Baltimore sports scene is blessed with a bunch of talented bloggers who bring their unique perspective to the conversation. This week, we exchanged emails with Kris Jones, who blogs about the Ravens for Russell Street Report.
Pitta was a clutch target who was particularly valuable to quarterback Joe Flacco on key third downs and red-zone situations. He is a skilled route runner with arguably the most reliable hands on the Super Bowl champions' roster.
As his newest tight end, Visanthe Shiancoe, ran extra routes on an adjacent field, Ravens coach John Harbaugh stepped behind a microphone and confirmed that the team's worst fears were true on tight end Dennis Pitta.