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Late For Work 9/30: Dennis Pitta Answers Career-Ending Question


Pitta Answers Career-Ending Question

Even in the face of adversity and a devastating injury, tight end Dennis Pitta is a classy and all-around nice guy.

Joining WBAL 1090 Monday morning, host Bryan Nehman asked Pitta how he was doing.

"I'm doing well," Pitta said in an upbeat voice.

Pause …

Nehman was seemingly waiting for Pitta to talk about his season-ending hip injury. Instead he got, "How are you?" Pitta politely asked to break the silence.

Nehman could only laugh with the elephant in the room.

So he started asking more pointed questions.  Specially, he asked the one question we are all wondering: is Pitta's career over?

The short answer: He doesn't know yet, but for right now, he is working toward a return to resume his career.

"I'm going to do everything I can in my rehab in trying to get better to get back on the field," Pitta told WBAL in the audio file below. "That's how I'm going to approach it and try to get back to full strength. When we get to that point, we'll see where I'm at and be able to make those decisions. Right now for me, it's just focus on getting healthy and getting back to where I need to be."

Pitta had surgery on his hip for the second time in 14 months – with the second surgery coming after he re-injured it in the Browns game without even being touched. The fifth-year veteran admitted that it was difficult to find himself back in rehab after grinding his way through it for nearly six months last year.

"This one was tough. It is tough physically, and it certainly is tough mentally," Pitta said. "For having to go through this last year and then kind of be back in the same spot again, it's always tough. But I understand you just have to stay positive and take it one day at a time, and try to work and get better."

Pitta knew immediately that he re-dislocated his hip when he fell to the ground in Cleveland. He said it didn't hurt as bad as the first time he injured it during training camp last year, so he was somewhat surprised by how badly it was actually injured.

The plan is to stay off his hip for the first couple of months, then move to crutches without putting weight on it, and then finally amp up his rehab and work towards a return.

"It's tough to be back at square one," Pitta said.

Pitta was at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday to watch the Ravens dismantle the Panthers and support his close friend Todd Heap be inducted into the Ring of Honor. He said it was strange to be a spectator in the box from high above the field, but he was happy to see the offense excel.

He will still be around his teammates throughout the year, as he plans on doing his rehab and treatment at the Under Armour Performance Center.

And despite the uphill battle before him, leave it to Pitta to find the silver lining.

"I won't have to go to meetings, so that's a positive," Pitta joked.

Coming Of Age Game For Mosley?

Lost in the shadows of Steve Smith Sr.'s revenge game was an incredible performance by rookie inside linebacker C.J. Mosely.

"Possibly a coming of age game for Mosley?" asked Pro Football Focus' John Breitenbach. 

Mosley was not only PFF's highest-rated player of the game, but he was the highest-rated inside linebacker in the entire league in Week 4 with a plus-6.1 grade. Miami's Jelani Jenkins was a distant second at positive-3.3 grade.

In just his fourth NFL game, Mosley got positive grades as a pass rusher, in coverage and against the run.

"The former Alabama linebacker put in mixed outings in his first three games, but this was a phenomenal performance," Breitenbach wrote. "A plus-6.1 grade for an inside linebacker is outstanding. He predominantly stood out as a run defender, recording an impressive seven defensive stops in just 29 run snaps. As a pass rusher Mosley also recorded a batted pass and had a pressure negated by penalty. Finally in coverage he allowed 3-of-4 targets for 19 yards, only one of which resulted in a first down and that was deep into garbage time."

Check out some of Mosley's highlights from the game:

More PFF Notes

  • Pernell McPhee (plus-5.1) and Terrell Suggs (plus- 4.6) made PFF's Week 4 All-Star team. "Suggs is having his best season as a pass rusher in some time, with more production than his solitary sack suggests," wrote Gordon McGuinness. "On Sunday he had a sack, two hits and a hurry, while McPhee added a hit and five hurries."
  • Undrafted rookie James Hurst received a negative-1.9 grade as he filled in for Eugene Monroe at left tackle, which seems like a poor mark, but PFF felt like it was actually good for Hurst's first NFL start. "Overall it wasn't a great day, particularly in the run game, but Hurst didn't look out of his depth against an excellent front seven," wrote Breitenbach. "Although he didn't give up any pressure itself he was beaten quickly on a couple of occasions resulting in checkdowns by his quarterback. Still it wasn't a bad day for him (-0.5) on 33 dropbacks. As a run blocker (negative-1.6) he gave up four tackles around the line of scrimmage and he'll hope to improve on that going forward."
  • Through four games, the Ravens offense is rated as the top-ranked unit in the league with a 26.0 grade, and the Indianapolis Cots are No. 2 with a 24.6.
  • Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele are the top rated guards in the NFL.

Are Ravens A Legitimate Super Bowl Contender?

If you ask fans in Baltimore whether the Ravens are a legitimate Super Bowl contender, the answer is yes.

But if you ask fans across the nation, you get a different result.

In a SportsNation poll of 57,185 voters (as of this morning at 8:30 a.m.), a whopping 73 percent said the Ravens are NOT legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

And if you ask ESPN's Jamison Hensley, now is not the time to answer this question.

"Though this gives us good fodder for September, it's way too early to ask this question of any team. It's tough to predict what a team will do week to week this season – like the Pittsburgh Steelers – much less figure out what a team will do four months from now. 

"At 3-1, the Ravens have established themselves as playoff contenders. The numbers support that."

Per Hensley, 63.4 percent of teams that started the season at 3-1 have reached the playoffs since 1990.

The Ravens sit in second place in the AFC North behind the Cincinnati Bengals, and their next stretch of four of the next five games on the road will be a better indication of whether they have a legit chance at a third Lombardi Trophy.

"That is a good start for September. Whether that means the Ravens will be playing in February remains to be seen," Hensley wrote.

Jacoby's Issue With His Head, Not Hands

There isn't an official stat on drops, so there are various numbers floating around for Jacoby Jones. PFF has Jones with four. A reporter told Head Coach John Harbaugh during Monday's press conference that he heard the speedy receiver has the most in the league with nine.

Regardless of how many drops he has, it's more than Jones or the Ravens want.

The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec says you can usually find Jones catching balls with the JUGS machine both before and after practice. But that's not the issue.

"The problem right now, however, seemingly is with his head, not his hands," wrote Zrebiec.  "Jones appears to be fighting confidence issues after a slew of drops early this season. His one drop against the Panthers was uncontested and about as a routine of a catch as a receiver will get. Jones wants so badly to make a play – why else would he field a punt on the 2-yard line? – that he seems to be pressing, rather than just being himself and having fun.

"It could be the case where Jones makes one big play – whether it's on offense or special teams – and it breaks the ice a little bit. But how many chances will he actually get?"

As Jones struggles to hold onto the ball, fellow receiver Marlon Brown is getting more time as the No. 3 receiver, says Zrebiec.

"And [Brown] produced. That probably earned him a bigger role in the offense."

On the opposite side of the ball, Zrebiec says it may be time to move away from using Matt Elam in the nickel back role on third downs.

"Word is certainly out that Elam is vulnerable in coverage as both the Cleveland Browns and the Panthers attacked the second-year player whenever possible the past two weeks," Zrebiec wrote. "I'm sure Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts will be well aware of Elam's struggles Sunday."

Safety Will Hill could come into the equation soon, as he has two games left on his six-game suspension.

Quick Hits

  • Indianapolis Colts safety LaRon Landry was suspended for the next four games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances. That means he won't be on the field Sunday, pestering quarterback Joe Flacco and his receivers. [ESPN]
  • By the numbers: Joe Flacco-Steve Smith. [ESPN]
  • Flacco was nearly perfect on third down against the Panthers. [The Baltimore Sun]

Apollos describing my first 4 weeks of the season  — Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) September 29, 2014

Photo taken by @shawnhubbard need to get this for the House! #Agent89 #stevesmithsr #IceUpSon — Steve Smith Sr (@89SteveSmith) September 30, 2014

#Agent89 #ravennation just old man doing my job.... — Steve Smith Sr (@89SteveSmith) September 29, 2014

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