How excited is tight end Ed Dickson about making his 2011 debut tonight?
Excited enough that he's referring to himself in the third-person.
After missing the Ravens' preseason opener against the Eagles because of a nagging hamstring injury, Dickson returned to practice this week. With the second-year tight end back close to 100 percent healthy, he'll be out on the field tonight when the Ravens take on the Chiefs.
And Dickson's pretty pumped about it.
"When I'm out there, I'm just going 100 percent every play. Doesn't matter if I'm going two snaps or 20 snaps, you're going to see 100 percent Ed Dickson out there," Dickson said, before stopping himself and cracking a smile. "I'm speaking about myself in the third-person now. But, you're going to see the best of my effort, as if I'm playing in a regular season game, not a preseason game.
"I need that work. I'm just trying to get my body right before those Steelers come in (Week 1), because it's going to be personal, and we want to start the season off right."
Dan Kolko is thrilled that he got to include a clip of Ed Dickson talking in the third-person.
Dickson openly admits that when he returned to the practice fields a handful of days ago, he was only about 85 percent healthy. He still doesn't consider the hamstring completely back to 100 percent ("Probably 95 right now," he says), but that's more than enough for the former Oregon star to get out and take part in full-team drills.
While Dickson was injured, he had to watch fellow second-year tight end Dennis Pitta impress the coaching staff with one solid training camp performance after another. Pitta also carried his impressive play into the preseason opener, where he led the Ravens in both receptions (four) and receiving yards (47).
Dickson and Pitta are roommates and good friends, so Dickson was happy to see his buddy put up such strong numbers last Thursday against the Eagles. But don't let that confuse you, Dickson still wants to earn the Ravens' starting tight end job, which is now up for grabs with the departure of Todd Heap.
"Having a competitive mind made me want to get back that much faster," Dickson said. "I didn't want to push it (with the hamstring). The head coach is really strict about that, saying not to hurt it more than it already is. But, seeing (Pitta) make plays makes me want to make plays. At the same time, I'm proud of him for making those plays, stepping up and having the camp that he's having. But I want to be out there to make plays, too. The competitive fire in me is a little greedy, and I want to get back out there."
Entering his second NFL season, Dickson has shed some of the shy, reserved persona that reporters saw last year. He's confident in his ability to pick up where Heap left off, and feels his big-play potential gives the Ravens' offense a different dynamic.
"I definitely create pressure on the secondary to where I can get out fast, or if they put some of their sub players in there, we're just going to run over them," Dickson said. "I'm too big for those guys to push me out of the way and try to make plays in the running game, and in the passing game, I'll just go over them.
"With (myself and Dennis) out there, it's going to be tough for defenses to match up against both of us. With Dennis, you can put him out wide. You can put me out wide, or you can put both of us in tight on both sides, and you've got 250-lbs. going across the middle. So, I see us both being out there a lot, and whenever I need to take a breather, I'm not afraid to tap my helmet (and come off the field), because I know Dennis is going to go in there and do just as great a job as I'm doing. It's going to be good to have us both this year."