Kyle Pitts calls his shot for Comeback Player of the Year award

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Kyle Pitts’ second season didn’t go how he, the Falcons, or fans wanted it to following a record-breaking, Pro Bowl rookie campaign.

The generational tight end only mustered 28 receptions for 356 yards and a pair of scores. Most of it wasn’t his fault, though. Arthur Smith regularly took the ball out of Marcus Mariota‘s hands, and even when the veteran did throw it Pitts’ way, it was off-target nearly 30% of the time.

Eventually, his season ended prematurely with an MCL injury. He didn’t spend any time on the PUP list and spent all of the offseason working with the Falcons’ first-team offense and Desmond Ridder.

Through one week, he has only been targeted three times, hauling in two of them for 44 yards, one being an impressive catch that set up a game-sealing touchdown against the Panthers.

It wasn’t the gaudy stat line many had hoped for, but there’s plenty of time to re-establish himself as one of the top receiving threats in football, which is exactly what he plans to do, even calling his shot at the Comeback Player of the Year award.

The injury wasn’t as devastating as others have experienced, but I feel like Pitts has a chip on his shoulder from last year. His lack of production prompted some to suggest he is a bust.

CBS ranked Pitts as the 10th-best tight end in football entering the 2023 season, behind Darren Waller (6th) and David Njoku (8th). Tyler Sullivan, who created the rankings, knocked Pitts for getting injured but didn’t do the same for Waller. Additionally, Njoku ranked two spots ahead of Pitts after posting career highs in receptions (58) and yards (628); however, Pitts was on pace to put up a similar season stat line.

It’s an arbitrary ranking and very subjective, but it’s clear Pitts is held to a different standard. I have seen people declaring him an all-time bust, and there’s this — Chris Trapasso of CBS stating that Pitts is entering a make-it-or-break-it 2023 season. He had a better rookie campaign than just about every tight end ever and then dealt with inconsistent quarterback play and injuries in his second season… and people are ready to write him off?

Yes, Kyle Pitts has a chip on his shoulder. He should. Comeback Player of the Year might be difficult considering NFL darling Damar Hamlin is a heavy favorite, but the Falcons tight end has the right mentality moving forward.

David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire


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