When Dennis Pitta inked his new five-year contract with the Ravens Wednesday afternoon, he still hadn't met new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak.
But Pitta knows full well the potential Kubiak brings to his career.
Kubiak has a long history of success with pass-catching tight ends from Shannon Sharpe in Denver to Owen Daniels in Houston. Both were Pro Bowlers in Kubiak's system, and both put up gaudy statistics.
Pitta envisions doing the same. He said he's "very excited" for Kubiak's new offense.
"I know of his offense from watching Houston over the last few years and seeing their tight ends, Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham, put up great statistics," Pitta said.
"It's not all about statistics, but they've been productive, and they have been a centerpiece to that offense. So I feel like I can produce in that same way, and I'm excited about the challenge and ready to get going."
Here are the numbers Sharpe and Daniels put up in Kubiak's system:
Owen Daniels, Houston Texans2012: 62 catches, 716 yards, 6 TDs
2011: 54 catches, 677 yards, 3 TDs
2010: 38 catches, 471 yards, 2 TDs (11 games)
2009: 40 catches, 519 yards, 5 TDs (8 games)
2008: 70 catches, 862 yards, 2 TDs
2007: 63 catches, 768 catches, 3 TDs
2006: 34 catches, 352 yards, 5 TDs
Shannon Sharpe, Denver Broncos1999: 23 catches, 224 yards, 0 TDs (5 games)
1998: 64 catches, 768 yards, 10 TDs
1997: 72 catches, 1,107 yards, 3 TDs
1996: 80 catches, 1,062 yards, 10 TDs
1995: 63 catches, 756 yards, 4 TDs
Pitta's best year was in 2012 when he caught 61 passes for 669 yards and seven touchdowns. Even then, he wasn't a marquee piece of the offense. Pitta started five games, sharing the tight end role with Ed Dickson.
That year, Pitta was graded as the NFL's eighth-best pass catching tight end by Pro Football Focus. He was just behind New Orleans' Jimmy Graham and ahead of San Francisco's Vernon Davis. With Kubiak's offense, Pitta could move into the elite tight end class.
He should get plenty of chances.
Under Kubiak, the Texans targeted a tight end 156 times last year and 186 times in 2012. The Ravens, by comparison, targeted a tight end 130 times last year and 126 times the year before. Over the two years, the Texans averaged more than 2.6 passes per game more to their tight ends than the Ravens did.
The Ravens need something to help jumpstart their offense, and more production from the tight ends would help. Without Pitta, it's an area where they struggled last year.
"The last few years I've been able to watch Houston's offense have a lot of great success and be able to utilize the tight end position and get a lot of production out of it," Pitta said.
"I'm excited to be able to kind of fill that role, to be able to be a big part of the offense going forward and excited to be in a new system and get a fresh start for our offense. Last year I think we weren't as productive as we wanted to be, certainly, so we're all looking forward to getting back to work and being the offense that we know we are capable of."