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The Falcons could be unstoppable if Arthur Smith makes the right changes for Kyle Pitts - For The Win/USA Today


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6 hours ago, gazoo said:

Too many ignore the huge boost in his blocking effectiveness last year from the year before. Sure, the year before he was awful, but he was an effectively blocker last year and I saw some great clips of him blocking LBs at second level in running game. 

Same when people locked in on the championship gm where AJfaced chase. Once they get a thought they cannot shake it. AJ was a great pick.

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4 hours ago, red falcon said:

Same when people locked in on the championship gm where AJfaced chase. Once they get a thought they cannot shake it. AJ was a great pick.

That is a good point. I recall Finneran dropping an easy pass that dropped in his hands 40 yards down field with no one around him, and from there he was called skillet hands and accused of having drop issues the nest 7 years or so. He actually was a very good receiver for us but that one drop tainted him for life.

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1 hour ago, gazoo said:

That is a good point. I recall Finneran dropping an easy pass that dropped in his hands 40 yards down field with no one around him, and from there he was called skillet hands and accused of having drop issues the nest 7 years or so. He actually was a very good receiver for us but that one drop tainted him for life.

🤣 guilty.

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14 hours ago, WhenFalconsWin said:

I think Pitts can be all he can be, but no one is unstoppable. I've seen Belichick take "unstoppable guys" and stop the living she-it out of them. Having said that, when you have other weapons spread around the field, which we do, the task then becomes which guy do you want to stop, and which guy that you won't let beat you.

Formula: More (W)eapons x (S)pead) + (O)ffense / defenders = success 

I believe the correct answer is TOUCHDOWN FALCONS! 

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13 hours ago, AuburnFan44 said:

It's all about versatility and unpredictability. As the diagram in the article shows, we can run or pass with our personnel and exploit the alignment on defense which makes getting stops very hard. Keep the defense guessing and you will keep the chains moving. 

How many times were you watching the game at home and calling out the next DK play? If I can do it, then so can the defenses who study film and game plan all week.  

I was doing that and my g/f was awestruck at the "depth" of my offensive scheme knowledge. bwahahahahahaaaa 🤣

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It's no coincidence that TJ Yates is the passing game coordinator.  He may not have been a top QB in the league, but what he does know is Shanahan's offensive concepts. 

Smith, Yates and Ryan putting their heads together using Shanahan's concepts to game plan this upcoming season is very promising.

Can't wait to see how they attack defenses through the air.  Add a decent running game (125+ a game), the Falcons should be back in the play-off mix.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/15/2021 at 7:16 AM, Da_Truth said:

It's no coincidence that TJ Yates is the passing game coordinator.  He may not have been a top QB in the league, but what he does know is Shanahan's offensive concepts. 

Smith, Yates and Ryan putting their heads together using Shanahan's concepts to game plan this upcoming season is very promising.

Can't wait to see how they attack defenses through the air.  Add a decent running game (125+ a game), the Falcons should be back in the play-off mix.

So we swapped yates for schuab.

Edited by red falcon
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On 5/15/2021 at 9:11 AM, octoslash said:

So which NFL team are you the defensive coordinator for?  

I mean, since it's so "easy".   😒

 

Buccs and Saints have a lot of talent in front 4.  I think Buccs dline gonna do work.  It was a strength and then they drafted another pass rusher.

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On 5/14/2021 at 10:48 AM, Sun Tzu 7 said:

Don’t get me wrong I love scoring and this kid might do great things… but I’ve seen this movie before and I know how it ends.

You can have the best offense in NFL history and it won’t matter if you can’t stop the other team.

Pass blocking in critical situations is also a big deal.

I don't think you're wrong, but we saw glimpses of what the defense could do last season when Morris took over.  It wasn't consistent, and weaknesses were exposed, but they weren't just the godawful mess they were when Quinn was running the team.

I'm not at all saying we're going to be a great defense this season.  But I'm hopeful Dean Pees is going to surprise us with his ability to scheme pressure and get the most out of his players.  It's pretty much what he's known for, though granted, he doesn't have the personnel here he had with the Patriots or Ravens.  I don't know much about the Titans defense the couple of years he was there, but it was way better than it was last year, after he left.

We need to build personnel on that side of the ball.  I'd figure next offseason we'll get about doing that.

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On 5/14/2021 at 9:44 PM, gazoo said:

That is a good point. I recall Finneran dropping an easy pass that dropped in his hands 40 yards down field with no one around him, and from there he was called skillet hands and accused of having drop issues the nest 7 years or so. He actually was a very good receiver for us but that one drop tainted him for life.

My favorite Finneran moment was in that season, when they all went to the Fox theater (I think it's the same night Mora rode with D-Hall in his Lamborghini).  Anyway, Finn was walking in carrying his kids, one in each arm.

Some wise *** here said "somebody get those kids before he drops them!"

You're right -- he got a bad rep here solely on one season where he was asked to be the no. 1 WR and he just was never going to be that guy.  As a no. 3, he was really, really good.

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Said it before.  Hit Pitts (or Hurst) up close a handful of times and defenses won't be able to put a double on Rid and Jones without paying for it.  It's a win to pass to TE and it's a win to use Pitts as a decoy, cannot go wrong here.  

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Posted (edited)
On 5/19/2021 at 2:19 PM, Vandy said:

1-2 seconds gives no time for route to develop and WR gain separation, no matter how good the QB is.  I can probably cover Pitts deep for 1.5 second just have to back up a bit.  And just rely on teammates to cover shallow.

Edited by BLM
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On 5/14/2021 at 8:04 AM, Goober Pyle said:

by Charles McDonald

 

Julio Jones. Calvin Ridley. Kyle Pitts.

These are the players that new Falcons head coach Arthur Smith must figure out how to deploy for the 2021 season (as long as Jones isn’t traded).

What an immense burden to put on a first-year coach.

Or not. This is exactly the sort of burden Smith would want to have. If the Falcons are going to maximize the last few years of Matt Ryan’s tenure with the team, Smith is going to have to immediately get this offense back on track. With the amount of offensive firepower the Falcons have, that’s certainly a manageable task.

Jones and Ridley have pretty clear roles in this offense: Just continue to be two of the best wideouts in the game.

Pitts’ fit with this offense isn’t as clear right now and it will force Smith to drastically adjust how he uses tight ends compared to his time as offensive coordinator with the Titans.

Integrating a talent like Pitts into the offense shouldn’t be too difficult — he’s a special player — but it will still require a change to the offense that earned Smith his promotion to head coach.

So it’s worth looking at the challenges ahead …

How Arthur Smith used a star tight end in the past

 

Newly signed Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith was the primary tight end for Arthur Smith during his tenure as the Titans offensive coordinator. Jonnu Smith was able to pick up big plays in chunks, averaging 8.1 yards per target during the two years that Arthur Smith was dialing up plays in Tennessee.

That timespan includes a season where Jonnu Smith averaged 10 yards per target during the 2019 season. Those are impressive numbers, especially for a tight end, and it should inspire confidence that Arthur Smith can find a role for Kyle Pitts in the Falcons offense rather easily.

However, this isn’t a swap for swap in terms of how Pitts will be used. Jonnu Smith was used more as a short area receiving threat with the ability to create chunk plays after the catch, almost like a running back.

According to Sports Info Solutions, Jonnu Smith was 26th in intended air yards (378) and 14th in yards after the catch (243) among the 35 tight ends to record at least 40 targets last season. Among that sample, Jonnu Smith was 34th in average depth of target (5.7).

Pitts, meanwhile, had an average depth of target of 12.8 at Florida — more than double. He did his damage in a completely different way.

The question now is: Was Arthur Smith using Jonnu Smith that way because that’s a staple of his overall offensive scheme, or was he adjusting to the player?

When he gets the ball in his hands, it’s easy to see why Arthur Smith dialed up easy, quick passing concepts that allowed Jonnu Smith’s athleticism to shine.

 

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Not many tight ends have the same level of acceleration and a natural ability to carry the ball. Arthur Smith deliberately chose plays that would let Jonnu Smith make plays after the catch. The Titans game against the Bills last season had a few examples of Smith making plays after the catch.

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Jonnu Smith is a nice weapon to have, and probably is a bit better down the field than given credit for, but he is not Kyle Pitts. And you don’t draft Kyle Pitts at No. 4 if you’re going to ask him to only do what Jonnu Smith did.

Pitts has the talent to be the best tight end in the league and projects as a dominant vertical threat who can be used in a variety of ways.

Screen-Shot-2021-05-12-at-4.51.28-PM.png

(Note: ISO here refers to when a TE is alone on a side of the formation, so those numbers could overlap with in-line and wide snaps.)

The addition of Pitts is going to require Arthur Smith to expand his usage of tight ends in his offense.

Kyle Pitts is a totally different beast

Even though a tight end typically isn’t the best use of the fourth-overall pick, Pitts might be special enough to warrant being taken that high. Pitts was simply a force of destruction during his final season at Florida, catching 12 touchdowns on just 43 receptions.

Pitts’ vertical ability down the field is something that Arthur Smith hasn’t had in his offense over the past couple seasons. It does appear to be something that Arthur Smith wants in his offense, however. He didn’t mind giving Jonnu Smith contested catches even though that’s not the strongest part of his game.

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Pitts is someone that will be able to unlock that portion of the playbook. He should immediately be expected to be a positive performer in the seam and on riskier, contested catches down the field.

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Yeah, that’ll do. It’s not just Pitts’ freakish athleticism that makes him a valuable downfield threat, he’s got great instincts as a pass catcher as well. He’ll contort his body in all types of ways to keep the ball away from defenders as he lands.

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And he certainly has experience running some of the more deceptive play action concepts that Arthur Smith and other play action-heavy playcallers use in the NFL.

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What makes Pitts this unicorn of a prospect is that he’s unusually good in the short area of the field, as well. Those shorter passes that Arthur Smith loved to use Jonnu Smith on? Pitts can carve defenses up on slants and screens as well.

Not only does Pitts have rare efficiency with his movements, he’s also strong and explosive after the catch.

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Pitts is a player that’s perfectly fine working within the constraints that were previously placed upon Jonnu Smith with the Titans.

But that’s doing a disservice to the type of talent that Pitts is — and would put a ceiling on his potential rookie year impact. Pitts can be a player that’s still effective with an average depth of target of six yards, but he can do so much more.

Pitts will have to fight for targets with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, but the caliber of player that he is will be apparent early in his NFL career. He’s even pretty solid in the run game and pass protection as a blocker. Pitts obviously is going to make his mark in this league as a pass catcher, but he did rank third in the draft class among tight ends in Sports Info Solutions’ Total Points Rating Per Block metric.

Weirdly enough, Pitts has pretty good technique in pass protection and is willing to, at the very least, scrap it out with a defensive lineman and give himself a chance to win using his length and athleticism.

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Pitts is pretty good at this football thing.

 
What does this mean for how the Falcons offense will operate?
 

No disrespect to Hayden Hurst, who carved out a nice role in the Falcons’ offense after being traded from the Ravens, but he’s not Kyle Pitts. He’s all but guaranteed to see a drop in targets after setting a career-high with 88 targets in 2020.

However, Hurst’s presence does give the Falcons a strong 12 personnel package for the time being. With Pitts ability to split out and play wide receiver from time to time, the Falcons can put defenses in a pickle by utilizing their packages with two tight ends on the field.

Last year, the Titans were fourth in the number of dropbacks with two tight ends on the field (193), according to Sports Info Solutions. The Falcons ranked 16th (106 dropbacks), but they didn’t really have a need to get a second tight end on the field last season considering their personnel.

Where the two tight end packages will really factor in and provide an extra boost is in the redzone. On redzone packages with two tight ends on the field, the Titans generated .377 Points Earned per play, good for seventh in the league. The Falcons ranked 17th in that category last season (.199).

Interestingly enough, most of the Titans passes in that scenario didn’t go to tight ends. Of the 19 passes that the Titans threw in the redzone with two tight ends on the field, only seven went towards tight ends.

Still, the Falcons can use Pitts and Hurst to open up opportunities for Jones and Ridley in the redzone. The targets that were being created for Corey Davis and A.J. Brown will now be opened up for two receivers who are better players. Expect the Falcons to be much more pass-heavy than the Titans were in 2020 (not having a Derrick Henry also plays into this).

The addition of Pitts opens a lot of offensive possibilities for the Falcons in 2021, he just needs to be managed correctly.

Can Pitts truly be the missing piece?

As the draft approached, I wrote that the Falcons faced a franchise-defining decision with their pick. They could have opted to secure a QB of the future in Justin Fields. They could have traded back to grab more draft capital to be used for a rebuild.

Or they could go all in, select Pitts and hope that Arthur Smith could use him to create a truly dynamic offense capable of challenging the Buccaneers for superiority in the NFC South.

So how good can the Falcons actually be this year?

If, and this is a huge if knowing how the Falcons generally grapple with luck, Pitts and Arthur Smith can get up to speed with each other in a hurry, the Falcons have a chance to get back to being an elite offense.

What are teams supposed to do when Julio Jones is isolated on one side of the field and they still have to deal with Ridley and Pitts on the other side. Or really, any shuffling of those players in trips formations that will leave one of them isolated in single coverage.

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Pitts will need some time to adjust to the speed and the physicality of the NFL, but once he gets going he’s going to be a menace.

The Falcons defense is likely going to hold them back from being a legitimate playoff team, but the offense should be an absolute blast to watch again. Sometimes fun is just good enough.

The Falcons still have long-term questions — it seems unlikely they’ll be in position to truly tank and have another high first-round pick, meaning they’ll need to find Matt Ryan’s replacement later in the draft — and it may turn out that picking Pitts was ultimately the wrong move if Fields becomes a star and Pitts tops out as just a very good tight end.

All that will be sorted in the future, though. For now, we’re just lucky that the most unique offensive prospect in the draft ended up with a coach who appears to know how to use him in creative ways.

The Kyle Pitts era is here.

 

 

 

What he should be putting in a diagram is a two TE set with Hurst and Pitts inline and then Julio and Ridley out wide. With Davis in at RB, you better respect the run or he’ll gash you. 

I think this was a great article, but i honestly think Hurst might still see quite a few targets and Gage less

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On 5/19/2021 at 5:05 PM, Killing Floor said:

Said it before.  Hit Pitts (or Hurst) up close a handful of times and defenses won't be able to put a double on Rid and Jones without paying for it.  It's a win to pass to TE and it's a win to use Pitts as a decoy, cannot go wrong here.  

I posted something similar without seeing this. Good post and i agree. Between the short options with Hurst and Pitts, or even one of them in seam, or other on more hook or go route, that will stress the defense hugely. Add in the Davis effect and suddenly defenses have a huge problem. 

The only thing that i hope AS makes happen—which i think that he will—is don’t forsake that run, or at least the threat of an effective run. That’s how you get your QB killed. 

But one thing that i do love about AS is that wide zone run. That’s classic Gibbs/shanny....get those DL and LBs running horizontal and you wear them out. Start rolling Matt out on those bootlegs like shanny did and it can get ugly quick for the defense. 

That said, i don’t think AS’ offense will remotely resemble that garbage DK ran out.

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On 5/14/2021 at 8:18 AM, WhenFalconsWin said:

I think Pitts can be all he can be, but no one is unstoppable. I've seen Belichick take "unstoppable guys" and stop the living she-it out of them. Having said that, when you have other weapons spread around the field, which we do, the task then becomes which guy do you want to stop, and which guy that you won't let beat you.

Formula: More (W)eapons x (S)pead) + (O)ffense / defenders = success 

This, Sir.^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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19 hours ago, BLM said:

1-2 seconds gives no time for route to develop and WR gain separation, no matter how good the QB is.  I can probably cover Pitts deep for 1.5 second just have to back up a bit.  And just rely on teammates to cover shallow.

 

On 5/19/2021 at 6:16 PM, HASHBROWN3 said:

Yeah, BLM simply in for more "I hate Ryan" negative attention & please argue with me about it... Lmao.

Jack nicholson GIF on GIFER - by Anayara

That pic is soooo disturbingly wrong Hash... 

but see above........🤓

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So according to this guy,, We may have made the wrong move by taking PItts,,  And this guy says Pitts may have to fight for playing time... What a joke !!  🤣    ...  I give this wright up an F- ,  Get in , or Get out, or quit dragging your feet.

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