Ravens Q&A with rookie tight end Ed Dickson

  • Ravens tight end Ed Dickson catches a touchdown reception in the first quarter. The Ravens beat the Saints 30-24.
Ravens tight end Ed Dickson catches a touchdown reception in… (Baltimore Sun photo by Karl…)
December 28, 2010|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

Each week, we bring you a Q&A with a Ravens player to help you learn a little more about the team. Today's guest is tight end Ed Dickson, the rookie who scored his first career touchdown in the team's 30-24 win against the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 19. Dickson reflected on dealing with expectations, getting familiar with his role in the offense, and enjoying life as a father.

Question: How would you describe your transition to the Ravens?

Answer: I wouldn't say it was easy. I'm not a stranger to hard work. I would say everything was what I expected and maybe even a little bit more because I've got great coaches here. All of my coaches do a great job — Coach Harbs [ John Harbaugh], [tight ends coach] Wade Harman, [senior offensive assistant] Al Saunders. They've made an easy transition for myself to be here. They let me know the standards from day one. When Todd [Heap] went down [against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 5], I didn't blink twice.

Q: How comfortable are you in the offensive game plan?

A: Since day one, it's been a great job by Wade and Todd and Coach Cameron [offensive coordinator Cam Cameron] of making me feel like I'm a vet already, making me feel so comfortable. We worked so hard in OTAs and the offseason that when I get in now, I feel like I've been here before even though I haven't.

Q: You mentioned how shortly after you were drafted, Wade Harman spent hours with you in your hotel room reviewing the playbook. Did that meeting familiarize you with the expectations this franchise has for you?

A: I don't think it's pressure. I think they have a lot of confidence in me. They wouldn't have drafted a guy as high as I went if they didn't think I could come in and play immediately. Todd Heap's a great tight end, and I wanted to learn from him. Todd's been playing great for 10 years, and Todd didn't come in and play right away. He had a couple guys before him, and he said if anything happens, we're going to expect you to come in and not play like a rookie. He said he didn't see me as a rookie, and that gave me a lot of confidence. I just worked hard in the offseason to get where I am now, and I'm not done working. I'm never going to be done working. I want to get better, and moments like right now — where we're getting ready to go to the playoffs — are why they got me.

Q: Was it difficult to go from being a top playmaker at the University of Oregon to being a reserve in the NFL?

A: Not for myself. My mindset is if I'm not getting any passes or I'm not playing on offense, I'm going to turn my attention to something else like special teams or if they ask me to come in and block. I'm going to do what the team needs me to do to win.

Q: How would you assess your skills as a blocker?

A: It's definitely getting better game by game and with the experience I get. Battling against those outside linebackers every week definitely gave me some experience.

Q: Are you still getting comfortable with the added responsibility of blocking?

A: I'm still getting comfortable with blocking, but I consider myself an overall player. My blocking ability is still growing, and my receiving ability is still growing. I know that to be a great player in this league, I have to continue to work. I'm trying to be a student of the game and continually learning about my opponent and make sure that I'm doing the right things.

Q: When you see how draftmates like Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski and Jermaine Gresham are playing, is there a part of you that wishes you had the opportunity to do the same?

A: Without a doubt. I'm a competitor, and if I got the opportunity that they had, I'd be doing, if not better, just as well. I'm proud of those guys. They came out of the same draft class as me, and they're making a name for themselves in the league. But there will be a time when I'm going to be that guy, and I'll be making plays. So I'll just be patient and do the things that I have to do to help the team.

Q: You and fellow rookie tight end Dennis Pitta were roommates in training camp and are roommates on road trips. Is it difficult to be so close to a teammate who is competing with you for playing time at the exact same position?

A: Not at all. Dennis and I became really close friends, and we're never going to settle for less. We're always going to compete against each other and help each other get better. We just happen to be two very good tight ends who came out of college at the same time and are on the same team. It makes it harder for opposing teams to guard us, and we're working hard to get one-, two-, three-tight end sets out there. We're working to have that lineup out there, and the only way that's going to happen is if we practice hard and show the coaches that we're reliable and they can count on us.

Q: Who is the toughest linebacker to have covered you?

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