Atlanta Falcons Kyle Pitts has plenty to work on after breakout season
By Nick Halden
Among the myriad of offensive issues the Atlanta Falcons faced in the 2021 season, there were two lone standouts. Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson both showed up every week giving the Atlanta Falcons reasons to not become completely discouraged with the Atlanta offense.
Pitts now has the second-highest yardage total of all time for a rookie tight-end finishing the season with 1,026-receiving yards and a lone touchdown. Pitts season could be described as boom-or-bust considering the rookie seemed to be a game wrecker or to disappear completely.
This is more than fair when you watch back the tape and watch how teams guarded Pitts in his rookie season. His accomplishments become all the more impressive when you look back at how much respect opposing defenses gave Pitts.
Due to the Atlanta Falcons lack of weapons, Kyle Pitts dealt with more attention than the rookie deserved in year one
Defensively teams seemed to have Pitts at the top of their list when it came to players they had to shut down. Russell Gage, Tajae Sharpe, Hayden Hurst, and whoever else the Falcons lined up as a pass-catcher weren’t shown close to the same attention that was given to Pitts.
Even the aforementioned Patterson often dealt with less attention than was sent Kyle’s way. The issue for Atlanta was the lack of established receivers on their roster, it is obvious that this is something the Falcons must address.
Imagine the production that Kyle Pitts will have next season if Atlanta manages to find a number one receiver and brings in a capable two or three.
Still, there are things that Pitts must improve on headed into year two. The most obvious is never giving up on a play and continuing to run routes or create one until the whistle sounds. More than once this season Ryan scrambled out of the pocket attempting a scramble drill and Pitts was jogging or had given up on his route.
Twice this led to Matt Ryan interceptions that could have been big plays with Kyle’s ability to make the tough catch. Watching film and getting ready for next season Pitts must improve his route running next season and not give up on plays until it is clear it is over.
The second issue that Pitts must improve in 2022 falls more so on the coaching staff than Pitts. When Kyle Pitts was brought in to help replace Julio Jones no one expected Pitts to step up and help replace Jones at the level he did this season.
However, it was an unforeseen development that Pitts would bring Julio’s struggles in the red zone as well. Pitts is far too talented to only have scored once this season, especially when you consider Atlanta’s lack of targets in the red zone.
While this aids the problem when the defense has so few weapons to focus on at some point it shouldn’t matter. This falls on both Pitts and the coaching staff one touchdown isn’t going to get it done for a player that is as talented as Pitts.
If Atlanta can bring in help at receiver and fix both of these issues Kyle Pitts will establish himself as one of if not the best tight-ends in the league in 2022.