NFL teams know they have to deal with injuries in training camp. They just hope the injuries don't repeatedly hit one position.
The Ravens are dealing with this camp nightmare right now after the team announced Monday that tight end Ed Dickson has a slight tear in his hamstring. This happened eight days after starting tight end Dennis Pitta suffered a season-ending dislocated hip. When did the Ravens tight ends turn into the drummers for Spinal Tap ? (For those under the age of 40, click here).
Coach John Harbaugh classified this as a minor injury, and the Ravens need him to be right. The defending Super Bowl champions are 31 days removed from opening the season at the Denver Broncos on Sept. 5.
“We’re going to hold him back for a week or so, and we’ll see where we’re at,” Harbaugh told reporters Monday. “We’ll try to get him healthy. It’s going to be a matter of time, but it’s not going to be a long time.”
While it's not time to hit the panic button just yet, there has to be an increased level of concern about the tight end position and the impact on the passing attack. At the start of camp, many envisioned the Ravens using a two-tight end attack. Now, a little over a week removed from the first padded practice, the Ravens are down to Visanthe Shiancoe. It's been 20 months since Shiancoe caught a pass in a regular-season game. It's been four years since he had over 50 receptions in a season.
The injury to Dickson comes at a time when he reported in excellent shape and was asserting himself with the first-team offense. He was looking like a player who would lessen the blow of losing the team's leading returning receiver. Even though Dickson's injury is not close to being as serious as the one to Pitta, it's one they didn't want to see at this position at this time.
For at least the next couple of weeks, the Ravens are going to rely on the Next-Next Man Up at tight end.