THE SKY IS FALLING: On Saturday I was at Roost 50's Shrimp Feast when Jeff of Baltimore Sports & Novelty asked how the offense would handle the loss of Pitta. I had not heard of the injury so I thought it was a joke until I confirmed it with Of course, the buzz at the gathering was the impact that this loss would have on the passing game, especially in light of the Boldin trade. It was a major surprise development.

It is eerily similar to last year that a major player goes down; in 2012 it was the DPOY. There was a lot of discussion that it would have a major impact on the team's success; so they went and won the Super Bowl. Good teams adjust for injuries and try to compensate for this type of loss. Although there is no question that he was to be a big part of the offense, it does not mean that his 61 receptions will not be spread around. And IMHO the fact that the Ravens have Caldwell as the OC means that they will adjust the Offensive scheme to fit the personnel; as opposed to calling plays and waiting for the talent to do the job (even if it is not built for the play). 

Injuries are part of the NFL. The 2001 Team suffered the losses of Jamal Lewis and Leon Searcy, but still made the playoffs - even with Grbac as the starting QB and Terry Allen as the RB. The impact on other players is also a factor in the team's plans.

 1. Ed Dickson: The obvious player to feel the impact. I thought that he was a little too soft last year and seemed to get a case of the drop-sies. He now has to establish a relationship with Flacco and make the plays that can keep the chains moving.

 2. Billy Bajema: He is the veteran who was slated for the ST. I did not think that he made enough of an impact in the TE slot last year, so I do not see him stepping into a void left by Dickson's move up the ladder.

 3. Matt Furstenburg: This UDFA may have a chance to make an impression. His entrance onto the scene is a surprise, since he could have been a Practice Squad candidate if Pitta does not get injured. Keep your eye on him.

 4. Alex Silvestro: A PS player for the Patriots last year, his chances are probably not very good. He is a Training Camp body, but I am not sure he can change his fate.

5. Visanthe Shiancoe: This 10-year veteran visited the Ravens before the injury, so obviously the team felt that the third string TE was not on the roster. He brings that experience to the position, but unless he gets a new life it is not likely he will be a huge factor.

 6. Kyle Juszczyk: He is considered a FB, but has been seen in the same light as a TE as a receiver. I do not think that they will look to alter his position, but the plays may be adjusted to treat his strength in a TE-sort of way.

 7. Vonta Leach: Does the injury and the shift of KJ to a more receiving role mean that Leach is signed? This will probably be based on the opinion of the possible WR options on the roster, since money dedicated to a veteran WR may influence any ability to return Leach. If Juszczyk is seen more as a receiving back, though, getting Leach in as the battering ram may be more important.

 8. Veteran Receiver: I believed that the Ravens would sign a veteran WR late in Training Camp just for the experience. I do not think that Shiancoe changes that signing; but the injury may speed it up. Filling it as a third-down conversion role to replace Pitta may be more important now.

 I am confident that Ozzie and the Coaching Staff will make the adjustments. Having this injury early will give them more options and give them time to consider how to compensate for the loss of a big player. As for Pitta, he was poised to make a case for a big contract. Now he will have to overcome the questions about this serious injury.

 More things to consider as the team heads to the Pre-Season games. More positions to study while the borderline players take the field.

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