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According to Head Coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens want to get their two rookie tight ends on the field more in the near future.
With a close eye on starter Todd Heap’s snap count, Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta have a lot more football to play during their rookie seasons.
“The two tight ends – Dickson is playing more and more, [and] Pitta is playing more and more,” Harbaugh said this week. “I think we need to get those guys in there more and more.
“We want to continue to balance out the numbers a little bit with those young tight ends.”
Getting Dickson and Pitta in the mix early in the year hasn’t been easy, though. That is largely a testament to Heap’s production (24 catches, 318 yards, two touchdowns) thus far.
Dickson, 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, has been active in all seven contests, but mostly as a blocking tight end. Th Oregon product’s biggest offensive play might have come on his 58-yard grab in Baltimore’s Week 5 win over the Denver Broncos. He also set a key block in a Week 1 touchdown run by Willis McGahee.
Pitta has been activated for six of seven weeks, but that was mostly as a special teamer. He does own one reception for 1 yard.
Harbaugh estimated that Heap saw about 40 plays in last weekend’s 37-34 overtime win against the Buffalo Bills. Heap responded by scoring two touchdowns and bouncing back from a reported shoulder stinger that caused him to briefly collapse on the field in the third quarter.
The Ravens believe Heap’s production can continue if he stays fresh, which was part of the reason Dickson and Pitta were drafted in the third and fourth rounds, respectively.
“Todd played, I think, in the low 40′s this game, which is good because we got his number down a little bit,” Harbaugh noted.
Heap has said that he entered the 2010 campaign feeling healthy as ever. In recent years, Heap dealt with a sore back, and a hamstring injury limited him to only six games in 2007.
Considering the shoulder injury, Heap is one person who could use the Ravens’ current bye week and the rookie reinforcements.
“Todd’s been huge for us this year, and he’s a little banged up,” said quarterback Joe Flacco. “So, hopefully, he can get himself a little more healthy this upcoming week.”