When training camps opened at the end of July, the Baltimore Ravens looked confident going into this season. Not too long into camp, the injury bug struck, and took Dennis Pitta out of the Ravens lineup with a season-ending hip injury. Since the injury, the Ravens were looking to Ed Dickson to fill the void.
Well that hasn’t worked out just yet either, as Dickson is sidelined by a partially torn hamstring. So, who knows how long Dickson is going to be out. Now the Ravens are looking for somebody to try and stabilize the tight end position. The Ravens did just that on Sunday, agreeing in principle, to a contract with veteran tight end Dallas Clark, whose signing is going to really help out the Ravens.
Now I know, Clark’s numbers aren’t what they used to be. That’s sort of become expected to happen; as players age, their talent levels begin to decline. Clark, who just turned 34 in June, has been one of the more productive tight ends in the NFL during the last decade. He played the first nine years of his pro career with the Indianapolis Colts, during which time, Clark had 474 catches for 5,322 yards and 50 touchdowns. Of course, during this time he had Peyton Manning throwing to him. After his time with the Colts, Clark spent last year playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There, Clark had 47 catches for 435 yards and four touchdowns.
The one year playing in Tampa Bay showed me that Clark may not put up the great touchdown numbers, but he can still be a bit of a threat as a receiver. His numbers weren’t as good as they were with the Colts, but it showed to me that he can still hang as a receiver. Now the Ravens are in desperate need for his services.
There’s a couple of reasons I feel this is a good move for the Ravens. First things first, I wasn’t really all that trusting of Dickson to be a competent replacement, or fill in for that matter, for Pitta. Dickson had exactly zero catches in the league a year ago, and now you’re gonna try and have a guy like that fill in for a guy with the talent level of Pitta. Sorry, but that don’t exactly fly in my book.
With Clark, you know he can catch, he has proved that during his time in the league. Pitta was known as a good slot receiver, and created traffic across the middle, which opened things up for the Ravens outside receivers. Dickson, at least as far as I could tell, wouldn’t have been able to do that as well. Clark, at least, would give you something close to it, and would make life a little easier on Joe Flacco.
Aside from being able to catch the football, Clark was also known as a good blocker, being able to pick up the blitz on a regular basis, which made life a little easier for whoever his quarterback was. Pitta did the same thing for Flacco in Baltimore. Clark might not be on the same level talent-wise as Pitta, but he’s the closest thing to it on the market right now.
Sure there are still some good tight ends on the market at the moment. You have guys like Todd Heap, Kevin Boss and Jeremy Shockey. Out of everybody at the tight end position, who was left on the market going into this weekend, Clark was, and is, the best fit for this Ravens team.
Clark will add the stability needed for the Ravens to hold the fort down until Pitta comes back.