Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Kyle Pitts reacts to Falcons’ lack of targets

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Kyle Pitts knows he hasn’t seen much of the ball for the Atlanta Falcons so far in the 2022 NFL regular season. The tight end, who set franchise records as a rookie, has started his sophomore year with just four catches in two weeks.

Pitt’s most recent disappearance occurred during the 31-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. This comes after he was barely used against the New Orleans Saints a week earlier.

The player has responded to his reduced role in a redesigned offense led by quarterback Marcus Mariota. So does head coach Arthur Smith, although his response may not please those eager for Pitts to become more involved in the future.

Things aren’t going his way after just two catches for 19 yards against the Rams, but Pitts is looking for improvement, according to Josh Kendall the athlete: “I’m just playing my part, contributing when I can, and that’s it. I just need to win my matchups a little bit better and make the most of it when the opportunity presents itself.”

While it’s commendable that Pitts is shifting responsibility onto himself, many will feel that the bigger issues are getting and running games. Those things fall under the purview of Smith, offensive coordinator Dave Ragone, and Mariota.

Still, Pitts is willing to be patient and not goad his coaches and QB into more work: “I don’t go to the coaches and yell. I will not go to Marcus (Mariota) and yell. It is what it is. It’s a long season. I am definitely frustrated with myself for being a harsh critic of myself. That’s my business. I just want to do my best.”

For his part, Smith sounded defiant when addressing Pitts’ absence in this season’s passing game, per The Falcons beat reporter Tori McElhaney:

Regardless of Smith’s optimistic claims, the Falcons are undoubtedly wasting the most talented pass catcher on the roster.

Four catches in two games could be explained by Pitts seeing more double coverage in his sophomore season. But not everyone is convinced that Pitts suffers from the attention of opponents.

Instead of this, Aaron Oster from The Kevin Sheehan Podcast believes Smith’s plan makes poor use of Pitts’ talents:

It would be wise for any defense playing the Falcons to make Pitts a marked man, but that focus doesn’t explain how infrequently Mariota throws to his best weapon. According to Kendall, Pitts was attacked just 10 times in two weeks.

The number has left many observers, including Bill Simmons from The Ringer wondering where Pitts went:

others like ESPN’s Field Yates, thinks it’s time to ask the Falcons directly to get more involved with Pitts. Yates’ proposal may sound overly simplistic, but making Pitts a bigger factor doesn’t have to be complicated, even if Mariota has other playmakers around her.

Rookie wide receiver Drake London in particular is already establishing himself as someone who can gain range in large amounts. The eighth overall pick in this year’s draft snagged eight of Mariota’s passes for 86 yards and a touchdown against the Rams.

There’s every reason for Smith and Mariota to put London on the ball, but the presence of the dynamic wideout should create one-on-one matchups for Pitts.

After Pitts went up against single coverage, Mariota’s decision on where to throw should be a foregone conclusion Fox 5 Atlanta’s Miles Garrett:

The Falcons seem to have forgotten Pitts’ momentum. He’s a 6’6″ 245-pounder who moves like a wideout and is a mismatch of size and speed at every level of defense.

Sometimes it can be as simple as putting the ball in Pitts’ area and trusting him to go and make the play. Going back to that simple formula wouldn’t just unleash Pitts.

It would also help the unpredictable Mariota convert some promising offense results into a few wins.

After Pitts went up against single coverage, Mariota’s decision on where to throw should be a foregone conclusion Fox 5 Atlanta’s Miles Garrett:

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