Ravens 2014 Preview: Pitta is the TE that Kubiak has been waiting forPosted on September 02, 2014 by Slater Jackson
A lot has been said about the influence of the tight end on the offensive scheme that Gary Kubiak has brought to Baltimore. Previously Kubiak has used tight ends in numerous ways to see them matched up on smaller defensive players or leaked out into space underneath. What is common throughout all the concepts is that the tight end can be used as the point of attack or a security blanket for the quarterback if the play breaks down.
The Ravens are excited about how Dennis Pitta will thrive in this role and for good reason. Pitta has been one of Joe Flacco’s favourite targets over the past 3 seasons and his absence due to injury in 2013 was significant. After a long off-season Pitta is healthy and giving Kubiak a versatility at the position he has never had to work with.
Pitta is a balanced tight end who can contribute to the running game with adequate blocking and also be dynamic in the passing game. Few tight ends are adept at both and Kubiak will use this to his advantage when drawing up plays. Pitta has the athleticism to turn a tight end screen into big yards as he has shown on many occasions his ability to manoeuvre in tight spaces between defenders. He also has enough speed to get up field in a hurry on vertical routes with a great ability to bring down catches over the middle draped with defenders.
As seen on one play during the pre-season, Kubiak will look to get Pitta out in space uncovered in the flat. In their first offensive drive of the pre-season Joe Flacco looked off the safeties deep on a 5 step drop before delivering the ball to Pitta who had delayed his release and snuck out into the wide side of the field unnoticed. Pitta made a 1st down on the play but if given circumstances similar again there is a good chance he will do a lot more damage.
The Kubiak offense is suited to the pieces the Ravens have in place on offense; a strong armed QB, deep threat wide receiver, serviceable running game and a moveable chess piece at tight end. But the more intriguing note is that Pitta suits the offense better than Kubiak could have designed a tight end for it. Baltimore is looking to have an offensive explosion this season and whilst most commonly it is seen in receivers and running backs it may be no.88 in Baltimore who is lighting up the scoreboard.