I was as puzzled as anyone when, during the first red-zone trip of the year, Kyle Pitts was on the sideline as the Falcons first offensive drive under Arthur Smith stalled after traveling the length of the field without resistance.
Why wouldn’t Pitts be in there?
— SportsTalkATL Alex (@GeauxSportsTalk) September 12, 2021
Today in an interview on Dukes and Bell of 92.9 Game, Arthur Smith gave an even more puzzling explanation for the already mind-boggling decision to keep Pitts off the field in that situation.
“That’s a real surface-thinking narrative. Sometimes it’s as simple as a guy was tired & in the plays before. The coaching staff is in tune with who is in and not.” Falcons HC Arthur Smith to @MikeBellATL & @putemupcdukes on why Kyle Pitts was not in on the goal-line #dirtybirds
— DukesandBell929 (@DukesandBell929) September 15, 2021
It was the first drive of the season, and one of the greatest athletes the NFL has ever seen is… tired? Look, I get that football is a sport you have to condition yourself to play by playing, but this is almost unbelievable. I don’t know if Smith is protecting Pitts or if he was generally tired at the time, but he has to be in there.
Smith is exactly right; the coaching staff knew exactly who was on the field. So maybe, “sometimes it’s as simple as a guy was tired,” but I don’t think that was the case in this instance. Regardless, the Falcons need Pitts on the field for 90% of the offensive snaps this year and 100% of the snaps in the red zone when he is healthy.