Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has insisted that the team will adapt to the injuries and departures that have disrupted their pre-season preparations.
The Ravens won a second Superbowl title last season with a thrilling 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans, but few expect them to be able to successfully defend that championship after the departure of veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin and injuries sustained to tight end duo Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson.
Boldin, who had six receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown in the NFL's showpiece event, joined the 49ers this summer after refusing to take a pay cut. Meanwhile 28-year-old Pitta is expected to miss the entire 2013 season with a serious hip injury while his replacement, Dickson, is being troubled by a persistent hamstring problem.
However despite an off-season plagued with disappointment, Flacco, who signed a mammoth $120 million, six-year deal with the Ravens in March, remains confident in the team's ability ahead of the new campaign.
On Pitta's long-term layoff, Flacco told the Baltimore Sun: "You feel bad about it and you feel sorry for him. Then, when you go hang out with him and see how he's doing, his spirits are the same. He seems to be great, handling it really well.
"That helps you get more at ease with it. It is what it is. It's a shame, just one of those freak things. But we'll just have to adjust.
"It doesn't do anything really to me. You love those guys when they are here. It's pretty easy to realise the fact that they're not here, so what are you going to do about it? You have to move on. We have a lot of talented players out there, and we feel good about what we have the ability to do. We're just excited to go do it."
Flacco and the Ravens will be in action on Thursday night, beginning their pre-season with a trip to Tampa Bay where they will square off against the Buccaneers.
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