It has been a rough start for Arthur Smith as the Atlanta Falcons head coach. In his opening game, he fielded a team that simply did not look ready to play football, while in his second game the trend continued for the first quarter, followed by a surge from the team, and closed out by numerous mistakes resulting in a loss.
In the first quarter of the Buccaneers game, Arthur Smith was highly criticized – as he deserved. The Falcons looked confused, Arthur looked unsure of himself and his team. It was simply hard to watch, and it made Smith look incapable of leading a team.
To his credit, however, the team settled in and fought back – ignoring the unraveling of the team late in the game. But there is one big mistake he has continuously made so far.
The Falcons head coach’s decision to give Kyle Pitts inconsistent snaps is simply dumb.
Kyle Pitts being on the field for the Atlanta Falcons is the deciding factor between offensive success or failure – statistics show it – when Kyle is on the field, the Falcons’ ability to gain yards more than doubles.
As it states when Kyle Pitts is on the field for Atlanta, their average yards per play is 5.3 compared to a dismal 2.61 without him on the field.
It also mentions how when Pitts is off the field their longest play is eight, but when he is one of the 11 players on offense, the team has 26 plays resulting in nine or more yards.
There is no way around it, Arthur Smith has zero excuses to pull Pitts off the field. Some might think that it is not Smith’s fault, but it is. He is the one who calls plays and personnel, it is on him to ensure the right players on taking snaps.
Obviously, he probably cannot take every single snap in a game, but he should be in there around 85% of the time – similar to Calvin Ridley.
Looking at week one, Pitts was used on just 68% of the snaps for the offense. That means that over one-fourth of the time the offense cannot get over eight yards. Not to mention, Arthur Smith pulling Kyle Pitts in the red zone.
In week two, Arthur Smith learned, but the snaps are not quite there yet, as he was used 79% of the time
It would be great for Pitts to play a complete game, as it would give the offense their key player on the field for every snap, maximizing their opportunity to gain as many yards as possible, but it is up to his body if he can or not.
While the difference between 79% and 85% does not seem like that much, it could still be the difference between winning the game or losing the game. It could be one of those critical plays you look back on and see how it changed the game.
So if you are Arthur Smith, your goal should be simple – use Kyle Pitts as much as he is able to physically handle – it gives the Falcons their best chance of winning the game. This also becomes an even bigger issue when you consider who is out for Sunday’s game.