The Falcons will host the Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Thursday night in Atlanta’s only primetime game of the season. Arthur Smith’s squad is coming off one of the season’s worst performances, comparable to the season-opening disaster against the Eagles. The Patriots are rolling behind Bill Belichick’s stout defense and Mac Jones‘s efficient offense, coming off an impressive showing against the Browns.
There aren’t many areas of the roster the Falcons will have an advantage over the Patriots, but one position Atlanta will always have the upper hand at is tight end. According to Pro Football Focus, Kyle Pitts is one of the highest-graded rookies in the league and the highest skill position. He shouldn’t just be compared to rookies, though; the rookie phenom ranks third in yards (606), seventh in receptions (40), and third in yards per catch (15.2) among tight ends.
Everyone recognizes how talented Pitts is; after all, he caught 21 passes for 355 yards in just three games. And one of, if not the greatest coach of all time has some pretty high praise for the former Florida Gator, complimenting the rookie Monday on The Greg Hill Show.
“Everything is a problem,” he said. “This guy, I thought last year in the draft, just watching him, he’s phenomenal. He’s big. He’s fast. He’s got great hands and adjusts to the ball. Makes tough catches. Savvy route-runner, can get open. Very hard to match up against. I was reading through some of the Atlanta comments and you hear them comparing him to a cross between Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones, and I’d say that’s about right. That’s what it looks like. This guy is one of the superstars of the NFL already.”
“I’m sure he’ll break all the tight end rookie receiving records. I think he’s on pace to, but he’ll be right there. This guy’s got a tremendous career in front of him. He can play every position. He plays end of the line of scrimmage, he can play in the slot, he can play outside. He’s got a great skillset. He’s competitive. He’ll block. He’s good after the catch. He’s a matchup nightmare.”
One thing that the Patriots, Tom Brady included, have always done ahead of games is compliment their opponent. It might be some twisted strategy, or it could be genuine; opposing teams and fans would never know the difference. However, these sentiments regarding Pitts seem authentic.