The Atlanta Falcons sit at 4-5 on the season ahead of a matchup with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football. One key storyline in 2022 has been the lack of touches for star tight end Kyle Pitts, who was the standout target for Matt Ryan last year. Now with Marcus Mariota at QB, Pitts isn’t getting as involved as usual.
Mariota is taking full blame for the passing offense struggling and Pitts not being a primary option. Via PFT:
“First and foremost, I can do a better job of giving Kyle more opportunities with the ball,” Mariota said in his press conference. “I think sometimes I’ve been a little too safe, a little too conservative where I’m putting the football, so giving him a chance to go get it. I think that’ll help some of his target numbers.”
It’s also important to note that Mariota isn’t exactly thriving downfield and he knows that if he can clean that up, Kyle Pitts will be much more involved:
“I think it comes down to me, I just got to give those guys a chance,” Mariota said. “Guys are finding a way to get open and sometimes it’s not necessarily the perfect throw. I think coming back in this season I’ve kind of tried to flush that perfectionist in me, that’s probably what my last hurdle is.
“I think some of those deep shots have always been — the kind of guy that wants the guy to just kind of catch it on the run, but with the guys that we have, the players that we have sometimes it’s giving those guys just a chance to go up and get it. I’m working on those things, those are things that we go out there and practice, so hopefully, that will transcend onto the field.”
To put Pitts’ numbers into perspective, he had 36 receptions for 546 yards in 2021. In eight games thus far, the former Florida star has reeled in 23 catches for 285 yards. Drake London leads the team with 33 receptions.
We’ll see if Mariota can find Kyle Pitts more frequently on TNF because he is a game-changer.