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With the recent arrest of Aaron Hernandez and many surgeries to New England’s Gronk Machine, Baltimore fans should be thankful and appreciative of the pair of Tight Ends we have on the roster. In 2010, fans and analysts questioned the decision to draft Dickson and Pitta in the 3rd and 4th rounds respectively. After all, the team already had Todd Heap. In addition, that draft was chocked full of quality tight ends, such as Gronkowski, Hernandez, and Graham. The Ravens released Todd Heap, who later signed with the Cardinals (where players go to die anyway), but the combination of injuries and obscurity basically ended his NFL career once he left Baltimore, not surprisingly. As far as Tight Ends are concerned, the Patriots left that draft as big winners and Hernandez and Gronk were universally given the title, “best Tight End duo in football.” While Dickson was drafted a round ahead of Pitta and Dennis quickly became the more solid of the two for Flacco. Although Pitta has become Joe’s clear choice, Dickson came up big with a couple key catches in the team’s Super Bowl victory.
Meanwhile, up in Foxboro, Gronkowski has had some off-the-field issues related to questionable behavior based on poor decision-making when cameras always seemed to be around. During a recent interview with Colin Cowherd, Gronk states “he doesn’t understand why people care so much about his partying so much.” Well, let me explain, you are a professional employed by en elite team, the New England Patriots. Forget the “New England” way; you have an image you must uphold and you’re not in college anymore; grow up. Considered among the best tight end in the NFL, injuries were the only technical thing that slowed him down and it looks like it could keep him off the field when the season begins. At the time, the Patriots weren’t worried, because Hernandez wasn’t far behind Gronkowski in terms of skills and could easily step into the role for Brady as a dependable target. Unfortunately, Hernandez has been implicated in a brutal murder, arrested and immediately released by the Patriots this week (personally I think the Patriots knew more than they released, that’s another subject for another day). This could leave New England without either of their two huge targets in their explosive passing attack and now must look down the depth chart to the third and fourth string to shore up that position; Tebow?
Other than the Saints, Patriots, Green Bay or Atlanta, no other team has the skills to match Baltimore’s duo. All of a sudden, the Ravens tight end duo is looking pretty good, both on the field and in the “character” department. With regards to your rival, the Patriots, this is a win for the Ravens, who have clearly won the tight end war with the Patriots based on these recent developments. While there might be a legitimate debate on the comparison of abilities of the four players, it’s tough to argue when the Patriots pair is not able to step onto the field to prove their point. Besides that, especially nowadays, character is character is steadily becoming a huge mark on whether you can handle the pressure of professional football players.
Championship teams have three levels of leadership – management, the coaching staff and players; I give the Ravens organization A in all three of those categories. What happens with Gronkowski’s injury and Hernandez’ legal issue remains to be seen, it currently appears that Pitta and Dickson could definitely make a bigger impact on the field for the long run and should be seen as the most appreciated duo in the league.
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