Super Bowl 2013: Dennis Pitta appreciates a 'bold move'

Rob Carr

The Ravens tight end is happy to be in the Super Bowl, and attributes a gutsy move by John Harbaugh for much of the opportunity.

When you think of the Baltimore Ravens, what names come to mind? Anquan Boldin, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith right?

Don't forget about tight end Dennis Pitta, who has played a key role in getting Baltimore to this point. One of the better blocking tight ends in the game, Pitta can also move the chains. The BYU product caught 61 passes on the year for 669 yards and seven touchdowns, providing a security blanket for Flacco all season.

Now, Pitta is excited to be in the Super Bowl for the first time. He gives much of the praise to his head coach, John Harbaugh, who made the controversial decision to fire offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and replace him with Jim Caldwell in December.

"Jim is a great football coach, great leader for our offense," Pitta said. "He's done a tremendous job. I think a change was needed. I think we hit a plateau as an offense with Cam Cameron, for whatever reason. Cameron's a great coach but I think we needed a change. It was a bold move to make in Week 13 like John did, but it ended up being a great decision for us. Jim has really got us to play some good football as of late."

Even though Cameron was getting heat from all angles during that time, Pitta didn't expect a change to be made. It's almost unheard of for coordinators to be fired during the season, especially so late and for a team that was headed to the playoffs once again.

"It was shocking at the time," Pitta said. "Because of the time when it happened, Week 13, you don't expect a change in offensive coordinators. You know, you are sitting with a playoff on the horizon. It was a bold move but it was certainly the right decision. Jim Caldwell is a tremendous football coach and has been a great offensive coordinator for us."

Despite being a pass-catcher, Pitta is also thrilled to see Rice getting more touches. One of the main criticisms throughout Cameron's time as the offensive coordinator was the odd disappearance of Rice in certain games. With Caldwell, Rice has been used as a feature back once again alongside Bernard Pierce, making it tough on opposing defenses.

"Ray is a dynamic player and you always want to get him as involved as possible," Pitta said. "We've tried that all year. It's not like we've neglected to give him the football but we're doing it in more creative ways now. It's not just lining up in a pro formation and handing him the ball. It's getting him more on the edge and getting him involved in the pass game has really helped."

The Ravens have been able to use Caldwell's game plans very well as a unit. Baltimore has been prolific both on the ground and through the air in the playoffs, going toe-to-toe with the likes of Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

In the AFC Championship against the New England Patriots, Pitta proved to be a huge chunk of the game plan. He shredded the Patriots defense, making five receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown while working the middle of the field.

It's not a role that was unexpected for Pitta.

"You know training camp, I did think I had some important games at the end of last season too that helped me contribute to the team a little more," he said. "So, going into this year I knew my role would be extensive. In training camp I broke my hand, so I missed all of training camp. I kind of had to start fresh again in Week 1. Obviously, as a team it's been a great year."

Now, Baltimore sits one game away from its first Super Bowl title since 2000. The only man on the team with a Super Bowl ring to his credit is Ray Lewis, who was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV.

Pitta is happy Lewis made it back in time for the playoffs after tearing his triceps.

"I think he's been great," Pitta said. "He's gone as long as he can this year to the final game and has been huge for our football team."

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