Friday, December 7, 2012

Dennis Pitta talks playoff picture and making a Super Bowl run

Dennis Pitta is, arguably, the best tight end in Brigham Young Cougars history. He was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in April 2010 following his stellar BYU career. Pitta is the Ravens’ top tight end, and has 45 receptions for 442 yards and 4 touchdowns through the first 12 games this season.

Pitta was gracious enough to answer a few questions for BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL.

In his three year NFL career, Pitta has shown steady improvement each year. In 2012, he has already set new career highs for receptions, yards, and touchdowns. The Ravens are a run-first team, but Pitta’s numbers are still competitive with most tight ends in the NFL.  When asked what he thought about his play this season, Pitta was more concerned about improving better than acknowledging what he has already accomplishments.

“This business is a lot of self evaluation,” Pitta explained. “Each week you look at what you are doing and try to get better. … I am always trying to get better. I try to work hard and prepare each week to play the best I can.”

Baltimore is currently 9-3 on the season coming off a tough loss to division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. The loss put the Ravens two games behind the Houston Texans (11-1) in the fight for home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Pitta said his teammates and he were “definitely” aware of the home-field advantage situation, but their first goal is always to win the AFC North and guarantee a spot in the playoffs.

“The Texans have a really good football team this year,” Pitta added. “It is critical for us to win as many games as possible. We want to, at least, have the second seed to have a first round bye.”

At this point, only a complete collapse by the Texans in the final four games of the season would allow the Ravens to gain home-field advantage in the playoffs. They would have to lose three of their final four games, and Baltimore would have to win all four. The Ravens are in the driver seat for the second seed. They beat the New England Patriots (9-3) earlier this year, and play the Denver Broncos (10-3) later this month.     

Before the Broncos, Pitta and the Ravens will meet the red hot Washington Redskins. The Redskins recently acquired former BYU linebacker Bryan Kehl. Although the Redskins aren’t one of the Ravens’ division foes, it will be the second time this season that the two former BYU teammates will reunite. The Ravens played the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this year when Kehl played for them.

There are a handful of other former Cougars who play in the NFL, but there isn’t a very strong fraternity among them, according to Pitta.

He said, “It is fun when I get to see [Kehl and Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Austin Collie],” who both played at BYU at the same time as Pitta. Twice a year, Pitta’s Ravens take on the Pittsburgh Steelers where former BYU Cougar Brett Keisel plays. Pitta said he has talked to Keisel only a few times.

The Redskins are the first of a tough final four games that the Ravens have. After playing Washington, the Ravens play Denver, which has three extra days to prepare after playing last night, the New York Giants (7-5), and the Cincinnati Bengals (7-5) in a game that could determine the division championship.

The ultimate goal for any team is to win the Super Bowl. Pitta and the Ravens came very close last year when they lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. What does Baltimore have to do to reach the Super Bowl this year?

“Start playing really good football,” Pitta said. “December and January is when you need things to click. The offense needs to execute at a high level. We want to get some momentum.”

Pitta stressed the importance of momentum by pointing out that the last two Super Bowl Champions didn’t have great regular season records (New York Giants, 9-7; Green Bay Packers, 10-6), but they ended the season with a lot of momentum.

BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL wishes Pitta and the Ravens best of luck.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

No comments:

Post a Comment