Tight end Ed Dickson has gone through a rough first four games.
He's had plenty of drops and has yet to make any meaningful plays in the passing game. With Dennis Pitta out indefinitely, Dickson was seen as someone that would need to step back into that role as a pass-catching tight end that can take pressure off of the outside receivers.
It hasn't happened.
In fact, Sunday's game against Buffalo saw Dickson not only fail to come down with what should have been a catch, but unintentionally tip it into a Bills defender's hands. It's plays like those that can wind up in more time spent on the bench.
Speaking to reporters Monday, coach John Harbaugh was frank about Dickson's issues catching the ball. Having dropped at least four passes this season (three in the season-opener against Denver), it's hard pressed to believe Dickson caught 54 passes for 528 yards and five touchdowns in 2011.
"The stats kind of speak for themselves that you’re alluding to," Harbaugh said. "He’s not the same player right now that he was then, obviously. Ed just needs to go catch the ball. He needs to run fast, get open and catch the football, put it away and get up field."
In sports, momentum can sometime carry over into subsequent games — positively or negatively. In Dickson's case, his awful showing against Denver seems to have lingered. It's something Harbaugh would like to change.
"If he’s thinking about anything besides that, he’s doing himself a disservice," Harbaugh said. "If he’s lacking confidence for some reason, that’s on him. [If] you’ve got that kind of talent and those kinds of gifts – go play ball. Go show everybody what you’re capable of doing. That’s what I expect to see from Ed."