Cowboys coach says Kyle Pitts will “definitely be a focal point for us defensively”

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The Falcons will travel to Arlington, Texas to take on the division-leading Cowboys in a matchup of familiar faces. Dan Quinn, Damontae Kazee, and Keanu Neal will square off against their former team, while plenty of Falcons will face their former head coach for the first time since he was fired five weeks into the 2020 season.

There are plenty of stories to highlight, such as the battle between A.J. Terrell and CeeDee Lamb, but I wanted to focus on how Quinn’s unit plans to defend Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Pitts; the latter of which has been relatively quiet recently after making NFL history earlier in the season. In the past two weeks against the Saints and Panthers, Pitts was targeted 13 times but only caught five of those for 75 yards — 5.77 yards per target. In the two weeks prior to that, the rookie phenom put on a show. He was targeted 18 times and caught 16 of them for 282 yards and one touchdown — 15.76 yards per target.

The Falcons offense runs through these two playmakers, but limiting their production is easier said than done, and the entire Dallas coaching staff knows that.

Mike McCarthy told the media on Wednesday, “Obviously, he’s [Pitts] a featured player in their offense. He’s a challenge for matchups. Particularly, they don’t use him a whole lot in-line. It’s more open formations and situational football, how they’re trying to get him the ball. We have a lot of respect for the young man’s talent. He’ll definitely be a focal point for us defensively.”

The Falcons will be hard-pressed to find any defense not focusing on Kyle Pitts because he can attack defenses in so many different ways. Even though Pitts has been held mostly in check these past couple of weeks, the Falcons are still attacking defenses with Patterson in a variety of ways. McCarthy knows it won’t be an easy task to limit their impact, and he’s not the only one.

Quinn referencing the difficulties defensive coaches in this league have of identifying how to defend a particular player who acts like a receiver and running back is exactly why Patterson is having a career year. Quinn also notes how often Arthur Smith moves Pitts around, aligning him out wide and in slot more often than he’s in line with his hand in the dirt. This is who Pitts is, and he’ll be a matchup nightmare for the next decade or more.

Dallas is coming off an embarrassing performance a week ago as Denver manhandled their defense so they will surely be hungry for redemption against a red-hot Matt Ryan. Arthur Smith knows what he has in Kyle Pitts, so he’ll never be shocked to see teams throw combo and bracket coverages at him; it is his job to find the weaknesses in the defense and expose them.




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