As a football team, the Ravens have solid overall depth. The defensive line is extremely deep. The secondary and outside linebacker positions are as well. Running back (unlike the last time the Ravens won the Super Bowl) is exceptionally deep. Even the offensive line, though they have had their struggles in camp thus far, can withstand a short-term injury—the versatility, and mixing and matching of different players and their positions, is encouraging. Younger players (my boy Jack Cornell is off to a great start) are developing under the tutelage of Juan Castillo.
Middle linebacker and safety are certainly areas of concern. With Jameel McClain’s serious injury and newcomers in the secondary, an injury to either of these positions would put stress on the overall roster.
However, Pitta’s injury puts even more stress on the position that was most scrutinized heading into the season, wide receiver. The Ravens are going to need more than one player to step-up from this group. Or, Ozzie Newsome will definitely be looking to upgrade this position through a trade. With the possibility of their compensatory picks being so strong next year, a trade of a third round pick is not out of the realm of possibility for an impact wide receiver. It remains to be seen if there is actually a player out there that is attainable. I am hoping and praying that the front office can find a better alternative than Visanthe Shiancoe.
Though this feels eerily like the 2001 season, I believe this injury has happened early enough in training camp that the Ravens can find a solution for missing two of Joe Flacco’s favorite targets from last season. Be it through personnel or scheme, the Ravens have alternatives and possibilities. Some possible solutions could be more carries for Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce, splitting out Rice more, trying out Rice and Pierce in the same backfield, going with more three receiver sets, or even bringing back Vonta Leach (I still disagree with this).
Either way you look at it, Dennis Pitta’s injury will have an impact over the entire roster. Time is on the Ravens’ side to find a solution.
The one position that the Ravens cannot overcome an injury is still intact. An injury to this position would end any delusions of repeating as Super Bowl champions. Quarterback Joe Flacco is healthy and still standing tall.
A stronger defense, a diverse running game, a big-play quarterback, and a solid coaching staff/front office will help guide the Ravens through the bumps of this young season.