For the first time since he dislocated his hip back on July 27 during training camp, Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta took the practice field at the Under Armour Performance Facility in Owings Mills, Md. on what is the most important practice day of the week.
Wednesdays are the days where the most preparation is done for the next opponent and the most physically demanding drills take place. That being said, I don’t think Pitta is playing this Sunday versus the New York Jets, but he may be back sooner than most expected.
With the 28-year-old participating in practice today, Baltimore now has a 21-day window to return him to the active roster, or he will remain on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. Given that the Ravens are 4-6 currently and find themselves in an eight-team race for the final Wild Card spot in the AFC, there is an argument that the Ravens may use Pitta immediately or rest him and see what happens.
I don’t envision Pitta playing against the Jets, nor do I think it would be smart.
He just got back to practice and while the Ravens are thin at guys who can catch the football at tight end and wide receiver, rushing Pitta back into a do-or-die situation may lead him and the offense to press. Anytime a team has to make a decision on whether or not to activate an integral part of their offense, they have to consider the consequences. I’m not saying Pitta couldn’t do it, but pressing him into his first NFL game action since Feb. 3 doesn’t seem logical to me without at least a week of practice.
That being said, the right time to put him in would be against the Pittsburgh Steelers Thanksgiving night. He has a week to prepare and practice, a 10-day period before the next game against the Minnesota Vikings to recoup and evaluate where he is as a player at this point to determine whether or not it makes sense to move forward with Pitta if the season is salvageable.
The Ravens have to win their next three home games or else they must rely on winning at least two out of three against the Detroit Lions, New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals, while also having help from the other mediocre teams in the AFC.
A lot of things have to go the Ravens’ way in order for them to make the playoffs and bringing Pitta back will undoubtedly help this passing offense significantly. However, immediately thrusting him into action and rely on him to be the go-to guy immediately may be too tall a task to ask of the four-year veteran.