Tight end Ed Dickson heard what Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday*– *that he'd like the tight ends to be more productive.
Dickson, who has seen his output drop significantly this season, is taking it to heart.
"I take it as a personal challenge for myself," Dickson said. "I'm not going to look at anybody else but myself and say I need to do better."
Dickson caught 54 passes for 528 yards and five touchdowns last year. Halfway through this season, he's on pace for just 20 grabs for 170 yards and no scores.
Part of the problem for Dickson has been drops. They increased at the end of last season and reared their head during the start of training camp and at times this season.
In an offense that spent the offseason focusing on improving in that area, Dickson has had trouble finding attention.
He's been targeted with 20 passes this year, but only 10 have been completed. That's the lowest completion percentage of any player on the team with more than two targets.
Dickson said there was a time this season when the drops weighed on him mentally. He said he would get antsy when the ball was headed his way.
"You know what, it's all a mindset," he said. "I didn't know what would happen if I didn't catch a ball.
"Everybody in the league drops balls. Nobody is perfect. You're going to have some adversity that you deal with, but it's how you deal with that adversity. I just want the coaches to know – and they do know – that I'm going to bounce back from those things. When they happen, I'll be more upside than downside."
Dickson was given a boost from General Manager Ozzie Newsome, a former tight end. Newsome asked Dickson how many games he missed this preseason. The answer was three, partially* *because he dislocated his shoulder in the first game in Atlanta.
"Well you need to get that chemistry back with Joe. You guys aren't on the same page," Newsome told Dickson.
Dickson felt instant relief. It made a lot of sense to him.
He said it goes back to doing the basic things right, the things he's been doing since he was a boy. Focus on making the catch, get your hands inside on blocking and move your feet. Other than that, have fun.
"That's what I intend on doing," Dickson said. "From here on out to the Super Bowl, you're going to see me working on my chemistry with Joe, working on the basics and doing the right thing. If that's for one pass, it's one pass. If it's all blocking, that's what it is."
Pitta also heard Harbaugh's words, but hasn't had as much of a production issue this season.
He's on pace for 64 catches, 618 yards and four touchdowns this year. He had 40 catches for 40 yards and three scores last season.
Pitta has seen a dip in his numbers since a hot start to the season, however. He had 18 catches for 178 yards and two touchdowns in the first three games. He has 14 grabs for 121 yards and no scores since then.
"I would love to be able to go out and make plays and be able to do some of those things I was able to do," Pitta said.
Quarterback Joe Flacco, who has a strong connection with Pitta, said he doesn't think there's anything the tight ends have done or defenses have done to shut them down that has led to their drop in production.
He said the Ravens simply need to move the chains more often and that will lead to more opportunities for the tight ends. They can also be effective themselves in converting on third down especially.
"I think we've got to probably do some things to get them more involved here and there, and it starts with me, it starts with what we're doing out there," Flacco said.
"We definitely need to make an effort to have those guys shine and be a big part of what we do."