Top tight ends working toward return

Injured tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta were back on the Ravens' practice field Saturday, at least in some capacity, as they set their sights on returning for the Sept. 10 opener.

Dickson hurt his right shoulder in the first preseason game and Pitta broke his hand in practice July 30, putting the team in mild danger of being without its top two tight ends for the start of the season.

That's two pretty impressive pass-catchers to be without. Dickson made 54 receptions for 528 yards and five touchdowns last year while Pitta had 40 catches for 405 yards and three touchdowns.

Coach John Harbaugh told reporters that the two increased their activity loads Saturday, but aren't yet ready to return to practice.

"It's good to get them back out there and running around," Harbaugh said. "They are both catching some passes and moving. They have both done a great job of staying in shape. They have both been in the weight room and doing the cardio. So that's a good sign."

Dickson said he's feeling pretty good and although he's "very limited," he told reporters he feels good about his chances of returning for Game 1.

"I do. We'll go day by day, and we'll see how I feel," Dickson said. "(I'm) very eager. I am a competitor. I don't like sitting out for anything. It doesn't matter if it's a scrimmage or a game. Just missing these preseason games was tough on me.

"The chance that we got today, we got the chance to open up our lungs a little bit and run a little bit and do a little bit of football stuff on the field."

Pitta also was glad to be out there, catching a few balls and running around, even if it wasn't at full speed.

He told reporters that his hand is getting better, and he still hopes to be playing Monday Night Football against the Bengals on Sept. 10.

"I think being able to get out there and run around and actually catch the ball a little bit certainly helps my confidence and helps me understand that I will be back playing soon enough," Pitta told reporters. "But we're going to be smart with it, obviously, and just take it one day at a time."

Even if their return dates aren't yet set, Dickson knows one thing for sure - the two tight ends will help expand the Ravens' offense.

"It helps a lot. A couple of veteran guys - we've been here for a couple of years, we know what we're doing," Dickson told reporters. "We go fast. We aren't 100 percent out there, but once we get back, we're going to pick it up from where we are right now and pick it up day by day. We're not going to come in whenever we come back and be a couple of weeks behind."