For the most part, we’re not concerned about the exodus of veteran players from the Ravens this offseason. With one exception: Receiver Anquan Boldin.
The Ravens have replaced Boldin with no one who can provide that reliable when-in-doubt-throw-it-close-and-I’ll-go-get-it safety blanket to Joe Flacco. Without Boldin’s abilities, the Ravens wouldn’t have won the Super Bowl — and Flacco wouldn’t have gotten $20.1 million per year.
This year, the Ravens could look internally to find reliable targets. Which could be good news for tight end Ed Dickson.
Overlooked in many respects given the production of Dennis Pitta, who like Dickson arrived in the draft three years ago, Dickson has a chance to get more opportunities in 2013.
In 2012, he caught only 21 passes for 225 yards and no touchdowns, way down from 54 for 528 yards and five touchdowns the prior year.
“Obviously, there is a void to fill in that regard, but we have some very, very capable people that can step in and do the job,” offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell recently said, via Matt Zenitz of the Carroll County Times.
“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 and Dennis 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.”
Dickson sounds ready.
“Losing a guy like Anquan, it hurts, so, collectively, we have to all pull together,” Dickson said. “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 has a clear incentive to take his game to a higher level. As a restricted free agent who signed a one-year tender, it’s his contract year. Ditto for Pitta.
While the Ravens may only be able to afford to keep one of them beyond 2013, having both chasing a big contract could be the kick the Baltimore offense needs, post-Boldin.