Matt Ryan has played with some impressive pass-catchers in his time in Atlanta, at least two Hall of Famers in Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones. Even though Tony G was in the latter years of his career, the long-time Chief was critical to many playoff runs for the Falcons. Nobody knows this better than Ryan.
“At different points in your career — and I’ve played for a long time — there are different waves of it. Early I had Roddy and Tony G. came in my second year. Both those guys were extremely productive. These guys are different in terms of their skill sets,” he said.
Now, Ryan has another generational pass-catcher to throw to in his latter years in Kyle Pitts. Though they are different types of tight ends, Ryan has equal respect for the fourth-overall pick but remains cautious because of the historic difficulties rookie tight ends have in this league.
“Watching him on TV, you could see this guy could make some plays. From throwing with Kyle early on, he’s got great range and is extremely long,” Ryan said. “Tight end can be difficult at first because you have so many different job requirements. You have to be physical, and you have to understand the scheme, plus you’re heavily involved in the passing game. It can be overwhelming, but he’s done a great job in camp paying attention to the details.”
The Falcons certainly have something special in Pitts; his rare ability to line up anywhere will be showcased in Arthur Smith’s offense. The former Florida Gator can line up in the backfield, as an H-back, next to the tackle, in the slot, and on the boundary. Still, with all that being said, what’s even more impressive is Pitts’s ability to run the entire route tree from any of those alignments against man and zone, as Ryan noted.
“Both of these guys are versatile. You can put them in many spots.” Ryan said of Calvin Ridley and Pitts. “They both have a really good feel for the entire route tree. Some guys are inside or outside only, feeling comfortable with only a small portion of the routes. Both of these guys can go inside or outside. They will play off each well and will also have some solid other weapons with speed who can make you pay, too. I’m excited about it, and it’s going to be a lot of fun in this offense.”
Even though Ridley is the most established pass catcher in this offense, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the offense completely revolve around the shiny new unicorn in Kyle Pitts. Matt Ryan knows what the Falcons have in Pitts, and it might be premature to give him this much praise because he hasn’t played a single regular-season snap, but from all the offseason reports, Pitts is everything and more.