Raheem Morris talks about Kyle Pitts’ role in Falcons new offense

NFL: SEP 17 Packers at Falcons

The Falcons turned a lot of heads when they made Kyle Pitts the highest-drafted tight end in league history.

With an aging Matt Ryan and a new regime led by Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith, many thought it was the perfect time to invest in a quarterback. To the surprise of many, the club took Pitts with the No. 4 overall pick.

It was a head scratching decision, but it matched the new regime’s words of wanting to maximize the rest of Ryan’s career in Atlanta. The risk paid off immediately. The Falcons didn’t win many games, but Pitts burst onto the scene as a rookie.

Pitts broke franchise records and nearly eclipsed Mike Ditka’s all-time rookie record for a tight end. He finished with 1,026 yards on 68 receptions en route to a Pro Bowl bid. It seemed like the Falcons had acquired a superstar with the new regime’s very first draft pick.

That talk very quickly died in 2022. Without Matt Ryan, the Falcons signed Marcus Mariota off the street and the passing game took a step back. Smith and Mariota struggled to utilize the unicorn, and eventually, an injury ended Pitts’ sophomore season prematurely.

In 2023 with Desmond Ridder, who was supposed to be better than his predecessor, there was reason to believe Pitts would get back on track. Those same struggles continued with Ridder and Smith. Nothing changed. In his second and third seasons, due to poor quarterback play and a season-ending injury, Pitts only recorded 1,023 yards on 81 receptions.

Much like last offseason, though, there is once again hope that he can return to form in better circumstances. That hope is based on a new quarterback and offensive coordinator, who can help Pitts finally realize his full potential, which was sky-high when he entered the NFL.

Zac Robinson will have the unique challenge of getting the tight end more touches. I do think the Arthur Smith hate was overblown, but there’s no arguing the quarterback play.

Kirk Cousins should be the best quarterback Pitts has played with, and I’m not sure it’s even close. Still, there has to be a concerted effort to get Kyle Pitts the ball. It’s clear that Raheem Morris understands that.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire


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