Good thing I’m not a gambler (okay, well I’ve been known to visit a one-armed bandit from time to time), because I would have bet big against Dennis Pitta before this season.
And I’d be broke.
Prior to the start of the season, the odds were heavily stacked against the Ravens veteran tight end. Returning from serious injuries in consecutive seasons, no one knew how Pitta would perform. Would he take a hit in training camp and be lost for another season? Would he fall victim to another non-contact injury? Would he be tentative in his routes and blocks?
Watching him participate in practice, media members were holding our breath every time he went down.
Couple the aforementioned with the fact that the tight end position was by far one of the deepest on the Ravens roster entering into the season, and the odds were stacked against number 88.
Benjamin Watson was signed prior to camp, Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams had another year of experience under their belts, and Nick Boyle and Darren Waller were battling for reps. Pitta had an uphill battle ahead of him, even before he suffered an injury in a scuffle with Kamalei Correa.
That injury cost Pitta several weeks of camp, and at that point “here we go again,” was the common refrain among fans and media alike.
It’s funny how quickly things can change in the NFL.
Watson was lost for the season after suffering a torn Achilles in the preseason. Boyle and Waller were suspended for violating league substance rules. Williams was sent to injured reserve with a knee injury. Gillmore has missed the past two games with an injury.
Through it all, Pitta has remained front and center.
Nine games into the season, the tight end leads all Ravens pass catchers with 46 receptions. His 375 receiving yards rank third on an offense that has struggled mightily for much of the campaign.
Though Pitta’s season hasn’t been stellar – he’s failed to find the end zone and his run blocking has been sub-par, for starters – he shows up every day. That’s something his counterparts at the position have been unable to do this season.
With seven games remaining, perhaps we will see the Joe Flacco-Dennis Pitta connection get on the same page and give us flashbacks to 2012.
Even if they don’t, the mere fact that Dennis is even on the field is a success. We should take a moment to appreciate that fact, and not just gloss over it.
Pitta proved us all wrong. Hopefully he’s rewarded with a touchdown or several here very soon.
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