dicksonDespite the 2-2 record, there’s no denying that the Baltimore Ravens offense has struggled through the first four weeks of the season. Collectively, the ranks are not pretty: 28th in total offense (317.5 yards) 13th in passing (253.5) and 28th in rushing (64.0).

The frustrations have been mounting for some time, especially in the passing attack. When Dennis Pitta went down with injury in camp, the Ravens looked to and expected Ed Dickson to help carry the load and maintain some semblance of continuity in the Ravens offense.

Through four weeks however, that hasn’t been the case and head coach John Harbaugh’s comments today suggest Dickson may not have very long to try and right the ship to help the team in 2013 and beyond.

After a breakout 2011 campaign for Dickson (54/528/5), the fourth year tight end has struggled with inconsistencies and especially dropped passes, seemingly happening with increasing frequency. This season, Dickson has started all four games, catching three passes for 25 yards, racking up six dropped passes along the way.

Has Dickson lost complete confidence in his game? It’s likely that he has and Harbaugh slightly alluded to that in his comments, but you could also sense the patience beginning to wear thin.

Speaking candidly in today’s presser with the local media, he didn’t shy away from the issue at hand.

“He’s not the same player right now than he was then obviously. Ed just needs to go catch the ball. Make it easy: Run fast, get open and catch the football, put it away and get upfield. That’s all he needs to do. And if he’s thinking about anything besides that, he’s doing himself a disservice. And if he’s lacking confidence for some reason, that’s on him. When you have that kind of talent, 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.”

Unfortunately for Ravens fans who have grown tired of the inconsistencies, Dickson likely isn’t going anywhere as the rest of the receivers too are going through the growing pains. Dickson knows this system.

How much he understands is another question, but his familiarity buys him time right now and the hope from coaches is that he can shed whatever is plaguing him, mental or physical and get back to being the player the Ravens thought they drafted in the third round in 2010.

With the pressing need of players to catch the football and make plays to help the offense, could undrafted free agent and practice squad TE Matt Furstenburg be close behind?