The Baltimore Ravens announced today that tight end Dennis Pitta will start the season on the physically unable to perform list. The move will keep Pitta from returning to the lineup until Week 7, which is Oct. 26, against the Arizona Cardinals. That is if he is ready to return by then.
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“He’s not going to be activated for the beginning of our regular season,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “We’d be talking about a midseason- type of a thing if we did it, so we’ll just have to see where that goes.”
It’s heartbreaking news for the 30-year-old as he was able to take part in drills during OTAs and minicamp, but has been on the PUP list since the start of training camp. Pitta hasn’t played since dislocating his hip in the Ravens’ Week 3 matchup last season, and Harbaugh made it seem as if there is no real timetable for a return.
“There’s more to it than just, ‘Can he play?,’” Harbaugh said. “’Should he play? Will he be cleared to play? And what is being cleared to play entail in terms of liability and things like that? There’s a lot to it that has to be worked out.”
Fortunately for the Ravens, they have some nice, young depth at tight end that has shown they are capable of making plays.
Maxx Williams showed a lot of people why experts felt he was the top tight end prospect entering this year’s draft. He dropped a touchdown in the back of the end zone early in the game, but made up for it with a huge play on the Ravens final drive. On a fourth-and-20 play, Williams caught a short pass, steamrolled a defender, leaped another and made his way for the first down on a 22-yard reception. The Ravens won the game six plays later thanks to Williams heroics.
The leading pass catcher in the preseason opener was actually rookie tight end Nick Boyle, who finished with four catches for 25 yards. The numbers might not be overwhelming, but it was great to see Boyle make clean catches whenever the ball came his way.
The Ravens are likely to start the season with Crockett Gillmore, who recorded two catches for 17 yards in the preseason opener. Marc Trestman is putting a lot on the plate of a second-year player that participated in 15 games last season, but was only being targeted 15 times, hauling in ten grabs for 121 yards and a touchdown.
The group of tight ends showed that they are ready to step in and contribute right away. The Ravens know that if Dennis Pitta is able to make it back on the field at some point this season, they will have a plethora of talent at tight end. Not a bad problem to have.
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