Head Coach John Harbaugh made that plenty clear soon after Daniels signed.
“I’ll let him speak for himself on what he plans, but I guarantee his role will be plenty big,” Harbaugh said. “He’s going to have a lot to do with our success next year. We have a lot of big plans for him, and we’re really excited about it.”
The Ravens ran an NFL-low 155 offensive plays with multiple tight end last year. That was in part due to Pitta being injured and the Ravens having to rely on
Now with Pitta back and Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak calling the plays, fans can expect a lot more.
When Kubiak was with the Texans, no team ran more plays with multiple tight end sets over the past three seasons. The Texans averaged 625 snaps per year with such a formation.
Here’s a look at the production from Texans tight ends those three years:
Garrett Graham: 49 catches, 545 yards, five touchdowns
Daniels (five games): 24 catches, 252 yards, three touchdowns
Ryan Griffin: 19 catches, 244 yards, one touchdown
Daniels: 63 catches, 716 yards, six touchdowns
James Casey: 34 catches, 330 yards, three touchdowns
Graham: 28 catches, 263 yards, three touchdowns
Daniels: 54 catches, 677 yards, three touchdowns
Joel Dreessen: 28 catches, 353 yards, six touchdowns
Casey: 18 catches, 260 yards, one touchdown
Using multiple tight ends provides a number of advantages for an offense and creates personnel issues for defenses. Teams either have to assign a linebacker, safety or cornerback to cover them.
If they want to protect against the run, the best choice is a linebacker. But Pitta and Daniels are difficult matchups for slower linebackers in coverage.
If opponents want to cover Pitta and Daniels, they could use an inside cornerback, but generally that is a smaller player. Pitta and Daniels have the size advantage. And if the Ravens opt to run out of that same look, they have bigger blockers. If opponents use a safety, that opens up the deep part of the field for wide receivers.
Kubiak will look to exploit matchups on the field, and Daniels and Pitta will be a large part of that. The Ravens will also be adding more tight ends to the mix, who will also be integrated into the offense.
“There will be more tight ends in here besides just two,” Harbaugh said. “Use your imagination. You [media] guys know football; you can see where this is going.”