"Diesel" helps fuel offensive resurgence

Two tight-end alignment provided many options

October 31, 2011|By Edward Lee

After a dreadful first half against the Arizona Cardinals, the Ravens needed an accelerant on offense.

In addition to the play of wide receiver Anquan Boldin and running back Ray Rice, the unit got a sizable pick-me-up from tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta.

“Diesel” is the Ravens’ two tight-end set. From that alignment, Dickson and Pitta provide additional pass protection or run blocking, or they can run seam routes and flares to give quarterback Joe Flacco more options.

“We ran our basic plays, and Joe was able to find the tight ends,” Dickson said. “That’s what we do. Whatever the call is, we’re going to make plays. I was proud of Dennis. He caught everything that came to him, and I caught everything that came to me. There’s one ball that I wish I could get back, the one where he put his hand up as I was going across the middle. Those are the plays I want to make.”

Added Pitta: “I think we had some success towards the end of the half and saw some opportunities for mismatches. We’ve got a great package with two tight ends, and we were able to execute.”

Dickson was targeted four times in the third quarter, catching two passes for 24 yards. Pitta caught both passes thrown in his direction, gaining 17 yards.

Those numbers might not be startling, but both Dickson and Pitta served to help Flacco gain a rhythm and some confidence.

“When you can get matchups on little corners, little DBs that they bring in in nickel [defense], it works out well,” Flacco said. “We did some simple things, just running flat routes and being able to get those guys the ball and getting four yards here, five yards there.”

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