Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC North [Print without images]

Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Ravens could get Ed Dickson for opener

By Jamison Hensley

After a run of injuries that elevated concerns for the defending Super Bowl champions, they are getting healthy at the right time.

Tight end Ed Dickson is the latest starter to return, practicing for the first time since injuring his hamstring two weeks ago. This comes a day after coach John Harbaugh said there’s a “good chance” that cornerback Lardarius Webb (knee) and Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder) will play in Thursday's preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.

Dickson doesn't expect to play in this week's preseason game, but he sounded optimistic about his chances of being ready for the season-opener at Denver, which is 16 days away.

"I always feel good about my chances," Dickson said, via The Baltimore Sun. "When you're dealing with an injury, it's tough because dealing with a muscle pull you don't want to come back too soon and aggravate it."

Well, actually, Dickson hasn't always felt good about his chances. It was just eight days ago when Dickson said he was unsure whether he would play Week 1. Soon after Dickson's comments, the Ravens signed free agent Dallas Clark, which increased speculation that Dickson wasn't going to be available for the Denver game.

But Dickson has certainly changed his outlook.

"I feel like I'm ready to get out there and do the things I need to do," Dickson said. "Practice is just as hard as the game. If I can get to where I practice fully, I feel like I'll be able to go."

Dickson was expected to replace Dennis Pitta (hip injury) before he got hurt. While he has the athleticism to fill that role, he has battled drops and inconsistency over his career. This is a big year for Dickson, who is a free agent after the season, to prove he can step up in a starting role.