- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Baltimore Ravens tight end Ed Dickson was a full participant in Monday's practice, which likely means he'll be ready for the season opener at Denver on Thursday, but starting defensive end Art Jones has been declared out with an illness. Marcus Spears, a free-agent pickup this offseason, started six of the final seven games last season for the Dallas Cowboys.
Dickson suffered a slight tear in his hamstring on Aug. 4, and he missed all of the preseason games. He is expected to replace Dennis Pitta, who dislocated his hip, in the starting lineup.
At one point last month, Dickson was skeptical about playing in the regular-season opener. But he returned to practice on Aug. 19 and hasn't had any setbacks.
"Obviously, they are kind of bringing him along slowly, but it shows that he’s making rapid improvement," offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. "We’re certainly glad to get him out there and get him a little work.”
Jones, meanwhile, hasn't practiced in more than a week. There won't be a downgrade in run defense with the stout Spears, but Jones provides more of a pass rush.
With Jones out, the Ravens defense will likely have seven different starters from their lineup in the Super Bowl.
As expected, Pitta has been ruled out as well. The plan is to put him on the injured reserve-designated to return list Tuesday. Nose tackle Brandon Williams (toe), wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot) and center Ryan Jensen (foot) all didn't participate in Monday's practice.