Well shut down these training camps. First Jeremy Maclin, and now Dennis Pitta today. Word on Percy Harvin still remains TBD (he has a hip issue and if it also requires surgery he will be lost for 2013 as well). Maclin and Pitta are two pretty major injuries in one day.
With Anquan Boldin traded to the Niners (the Ravens may want to have that one back – they let Boldin go for a 6th round pick), and now Dennis Pitta out, the Ravens pass-catchers are looking pretty average to bleak opposite Torrey Smtih. Dennis Pitta was expected to be a major piece to the puzzle this season. Pitta was the 5th-rated tight end in magazines this year on average coming off a breakout 61/669/7-TD season. Like Jeremy Maclin, it’s horrible timing for Dennis Pitta who was in a contract season. Pitta signed a one-year contract in May looking to cash in after hopefully a big season in 2013. Pitta is still relatively young but he’s no spring chicken either in football terms and recovering from hip surgery surely is no walk in the park. Remember Bo Jackson had a hip injury and never played again. Pitta started his NFL career late after having served a Mormon mission. This was just his 4th NFL season but Pitta will turn 29 before the 2014 season.
The most obvious change is a major bump up for Ed Dickson. With Dennis Pitta out for the year, Dickson becomes the starter and really has no competition for snaps. The same year New England selected two tight ends in the same draft (Rob Gronkowski/Aaron Hernandez), Baltimore did the same thing with Dickson in the 3rd round (3.06, #70 overall) and Pitta in the 4th round (4.16, #114 overall). Dickson and Pitta both sat basically in 2010 with Todd Heap still starting. In 2011, Dickson got the favor over Pitta in a 57/43 split in terms of receptions between the two. Pitta of course dominated in 2012 with a 74/26 split in his favor. It’s all Dickson now. The only other tight ends on the roster are Billy Bajema, Alex Silvestro and Matt Furstenburg.
Joe Flacco takes a pretty big hit here. He wasn’t the most attractive option anyway (Flacco was the QB17 in magazines) but it’s hard to make a case that he’s really even a solid backup fantasy QB now. Flacco comes into 2013 having thrown 24 TDs to 4 INTs over his last 12 games, and enters 2013 off a career-best 3,817-yard season, but his receivers are an absolute mess. After dinging his projections, Flacco slides to QB25 on FFW’s board, below Alex Smith and closer to Brandon Weeden now (and honestly, Weeden may be more attractive). The Ravens opened the checkbook up for Flacco signing him to a 6-year, $120.6M deal making him the highest paid QB in NFL history this off-season (which Aaron Rodgers has since beat). They could stand to give him some weapons now.
Tandon Doss gets a bump on the news as he’s a possession-type receiver and entering his third year. FFW currently has Doss at 28/378/2TDs. As for the rest of the receivers, who knows? It’s hard to have too much faith in Jacoby Jones despite the strong post-season. The rest of the receivers really need to be monitored in pre-season (Deonte Thompson, Tommy Streeter, Aaron Mellette) and guessing a boost for any of them is pretty much pure conjecture at this point (although you’d have to put money on the veterans Thompson and Streeter – Thompson has burner speed, while Streeter has exceptional 6’5″ size and 4.4 speed but missed last year with a foot injury). FFW has trimmed Bernard Pierce’s stats some. Pierce has game (he averaged 4.9 YPC last year), and the Ravens have talked about using him more, but without Anquan Bolin and now Dennis Pitta gone, this offense just looks much less attractive to support enough scores for he and Rice.