Arthur Smith on lack of Kyle Pitts targets: “This isn’t fantasy football”

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The Falcons had yet another emotional rollercoaster of a game on Sunday, losing to the Rams 27-31. But how they lost made it so jarring for many fans. At one point, Atlanta trailed LA 28-3 as Mark Sanchez and Kevin Kugler fell over themselves to make Super Bowl meltdown jokes. However, after a series of blocked punts and fumbles, the Falcons trailed 25-31. Unfortunately, instead of punting away to the Falcons’ offense, Sean McVay decided to take a safety, essentially sealing the game outside of a last-second hail marry attempt that ended up in a Marcus Mariota sack fumble.

One of the bigger stories coming from the matchup actually came after the game in Arthur Smith’s press conference in which he responded to a question about Kyle Pitts‘ lack of production, which has carried over from Week 1.

“It’s not fantasy football; we’re trying to win,” Smith said. 

On the surface, this is an incredibly surprising statement. However, if you listen to the entire press conference, the comments aren’t nearly as bad.

“I know. And the thing is, it’s just got to take it with context. It’s the same thing. We’re trying to win, and he [Pitts] has a huge impact on the game. And so that’s a really good front [Rams] and certainly probably the most dominant interior pass rush [Aaron Donald] in the last decade. And so when you’re sitting there using different things to try to stay on track because the guy can be a nightmare.” Smith continued.

“And Kyle is such an important piece, and the ball would go after him, or he’s targeted and other guys made plays. So it’s like a perfect example. You targeted them on one, and if they cover them or they account for them, and then [Khadarel] Hodge comes in there and makes a big play. It happened a few times, things like that. It’s not fantasy football. We’re just trying to win, and we’ll continue to look at everything and try to get better,” Smith concluded.

I believe reactions to Smith’s comments are being blown out of proportion. Obviously, the highest-drafted tight end in league history has to be more involved in the Falcons’ offense. It’s fair to be upset over that fact, but Smith’s comments are not something fans should be angry about. Honestly, Kyle Pitts’ lack of production could probably be better pinned on Marcus Mariota than the head coach.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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