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Decision on Pitta's future to be made soon

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Decision on Pitta's future to be made soon

OWINGS MILLS – A decision will be made by Wednesday on whether tight end Dennis Pitta makes a comeback this season from his second serious hip injury.

Pitta has been practicing since Oct. 21, which started an NFL-mandated 21-day window for Pitta either to be activated, or to be placed on season-ending injured reserve. Pitta will consult with doctors, weigh the risks, and make a decision on his future. According to coach John Harbaugh, the decision comes down to Pitta’s long-term health, not his ability to play again.

“He did look good in practice,” Harbaugh said. “We had a tough time covering him. He was doing stuff for the look team and made a bunch of plays out there. He just kind of looked like his old self out there. But don’t construe that as saying that he’s ready to go, because it’s not about that. The doctors are going to take a hard look at that, and help him decide, is this safe? It’s going to be based on how the hip is responding to the practices.

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“Dennis is going to play if he can. There’s no doubt in my mind based on when I’ve talked to him. If it’s safe, and he feels like he can get out there and the hip is responding well, he’s going to play. If it’s not safe, then he’s not going to play. It’s not a black-and-white decision, but it’s a decision he has to make with the doctors. He wants to play. It’s just a matter of whether it’s going to be safe or not. Tomorrow’s an off day (Tuesday), we’ll sit down and have a pow-wow on it.”

Pitta, who turned 30 years old in June, originally injured his hip during training camp in 2013. He returned for the final four games that season, but re-injured the hip on a non-contact play in Week 3 of 2014. His best season was in 2012 when he helped the Ravens win a Super Bowl, catching 61 passes for 669 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season, followed by 14 catches for 163 yards and three touchdowns during the playoffs.

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Reaction: Peter King picks Ravens 12th in 2019 Power Rankings

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Reaction: Peter King picks Ravens 12th in 2019 Power Rankings

With OTAs underway, Peter King has released his 2019 NFL preseason power rankings and of the biggest surprises is the Baltimore Ravens landing at No. 12 on the list. Although stud Lamar Jackson surprised people last season, given the substandard state of their defense and the burden on Jackson to shoulder the load offensively, King may have the Ravens ranked a few spots too high. 

Let's start with the defense; it's got more holes than a slice of swiss cheese. Most notably they lost linebacker Terrell Suggs, the heart and soul of their defense for the past decade. Although past his prime, Suggs is still a productive player and they will undoubtedly miss his leadership. They released defensive back Eric Weddle, who was coming off two straight Pro-Bowl appearances. Their justification was that he's 34 and by releasing him, they could allocate the money to re-signing All-Pro linebacker C.J. Mosley. Solid reasoning, if Mosley didn't sign with the New York Jets in the offseason.

Credit must be given, however, to the four-year, $55 million contract given to former Seattle Seahawks All-Pro safety Earl Thomas. Coming off a broken leg, he is easily the biggest X-factor for this defense. If he produces like the Earl Thomas of old, it'll more than makeup for the loss of the Weddle. They'll also be getting back defensive tackle Willie Reed from injury, who's young and hungry.

Although last years' defense was one of, if not the top unit in the NFL, all anyone could manage to talk about was the dynamic offense led by rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. Coach John Harbaugh threw caution to the wind and handed the reins to Jackson in Week 10, and the Ravens proceeded to win six of their next seven games behind a run-dominated offense.

It's a toss-up if they'll be able to replicate that success this season. On the one hand, the unconventional attack took the league by storm last year and one could argue the league just needed time to adapt to this new-look offense. On the other hand, the Ravens did add some electric new pieces to the offense to replace the losses of wide receivers Michael Crabtree and John Brown. 

They added Mark Ingram who is one of the best dual-threat running backs in the league when healthy. Their first-round pick, wide receiver Marquise Brown, is one of the fastest players Todd McShay has ever evaluated. Third-round pick wide receiver Miles Boykin was one of the 20 fastest players at the draft and fourth-round pick  Justice Hill registered the fastest 40 time for running backs at the combine. Adding young, electric talent will enhance Jackson's already stellar playmaking ability. 

At tight end, they're one of the deepest teams in the NFL, headed up by Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst. Keep in mind, however, that this is the NFL: it all starts with the quarterback. Jackson completed passes at a 58.2% clip last season. If the Ravens are serious about building around him, he'll have to improve as a passer. 

Taking the defensive deficiencies and questions on offense into account, and 12 is too high for the preseason power rankings; 16 is more appropriate. In his article, King writes about the Ravens saying, "They could win 11. They could win six." If I had to choose one outcome I'd take the latter. 

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: OTAs Day 1

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: OTAs Day 1

Kick off your Tuesday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including a recap of the first day of OTAs.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. Yesterday, (Monday) was the first day of the Ravens' OTAs. OTAs continue today (Tuesday) as the Ravens work on developing a new offense. Check out some of the highlights here. 

2. The Baltimore Ravens have officially announced the full 90-man roster that will be competing for an official team roster spot in OTAs this summer. 

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens for news points.

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