The Baltimore Ravens caused a sudden elation in their fanbase when they activated tight end Dennis Pitta to the 53-man roster Saturday afternoon.
The 28-year-old tight end will likely play in his first NFL game since the Ravens reached the promised land as they basked in the glory of a Super Bowl XLVII title in February. While it remains to be seen where he is at physically, Pitta’s teammates and organization must have been impressed with his progression as the dislocated hip injury he suffered back in late July left the tight end’s 2013 season in jeopardy.
Baltimore had until 4 p.m. today to make the decision on Pitta’s availability for Sunday’s game versus the Minnesota Vikings and made the decision just in the nick of time. In lieu of the move, Baltimore had to waive a player in order to make room for Pitta. Running back Bernard Scott, who didn’t see a single snap for the Ravens, was waived as Baltimore once again has just two healthy running backs in the backfield with Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce.
Just because Pitta is on the roster doesn’t mean the Ravens will or have to play him Sunday, but the 21-day period of him having to be activated is now pushed to the wayside. If Baltimore didn’t have plans on playing the tight end in some capacity, they probably would have let him sit this one out, but don’t expect a full workload from Pitta.
Much like when Terrell Suggs returned from his partially torn Achilles tendon last season versus the Houston Texans, the snap count will be somewhat subdued and limited to Pitta’s traditional workload. Given the Ravens’ struggles in the red zone, throwing the football over the middle and also in converting third downs, expect Baltimore to monitor his snaps to the 15-25 range.
Pitta’s presence on the field alone will not only alarm the 30th-ranked pass defense of the Vikings, but it will instill more confidence in the passing game with quarterback Joe Flacco. Not only are Flacco and Pitta great teammates, they are best friends off the field. The rapport and chemistry established by the pair last season is enough to generate some concern in opposing defensive coordinators.
Having the mere threat of a larger pass-catching threat is what the Ravens needed at this stage of their run for the 2013 postseason. The impact may not be immediate and Pitta may not be 100 percent, but anytime No. 88 is on the field for the Ravens, offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell‘s job is that much easier.