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Falcons Daily: Arthur Smith says when it comes to Kyle Pitts 'the ball will find him'

The last time Kyle Pitts was targeted three times and made two catches, the same question to Arthur Smith was asked: Why are you not getting Pitts the ball? History shows he will. 

SEATTLE -- Anyone remember the first question asked of Arthur Smith after the Falcons first win of the 2021 season?

It was Week 3, and the Falcons were in New York to face the Giants. Atlanta ended up winning said game thanks - in part - to Matt Ryan finding Kyle Pitts for 35 yards on two catches very late in the final game-winning drive.

When Smith made it to the podium postgame he was asked about Pitts' performance, but not in regard to what Pitts did at the end of the game. Instead, the first question was about his lack of targets in the beginning of the game. Pitts was only targeted three times.


"Why wasn't Kyle Pitts involved in the offense for the first three and a half quarters?" reporters asked.

Smith's response? It was the birth of his "surface narrative" mantra.

"It's a game of cat and house and sometimes he's No. 1 on the progression and they took it away, and we go to other places," Smith said in response. "... Just because he didn't catch the ball early doesn't mean it wasn't called." 

Against the Rams on Monday, we saw Pitts have similar production as he did almost a year to the day earlier. Pitts made two catches on three targets for a total of 19 yards. In the days that followed the loss, the story around the Falcons has been: Well, why hasn't Pitts been targeted?

Smith answered fairly similarly to the way he did postgame in New York a year ago.

"He's been targeted as the primary (receiver) plenty," Smith said on Wednesday, "but that doesn't necessarily mean the balls going to go there."

If we think back to last year, this was the exact conversation many were having following that win in New York. The next week, though? Pitts was targeted nine times. He had four catches for 50 yards. The week after that? He was targeted 10 times in London, and he had nine catches for 119 yards. It was his first of three games with 100-plus receiving yards.

So, in a sense: It's OK to calm down about Pitts' production/targets through two games. If this was Week 6, it's a different conversation. But in Week 2? The panic button shouldn't be pressed yet, and no one within the Falcons organization feels a sense of panic about it, either.

Even Pitts, himself.

"I'm not going to coaches and yelling. I'm not going to Marcus (Mariota) and yelling," Pitts said following the Falcons loss to the Rams. "It is what it is, and it's a long season."

Asked then if he sees teams playing him differently this year than last, maybe adding another man against him, Pitts said no, not really.

"I'm not even thinking if I'm being doubled," Pitts said. "I am just trying to beat whoever's in front of me."

From Smith's perspective, he said it's way more than simply Pitts "being double-teamed."

Here's his full explanation:

"If we're going to funnel you in there in these shell coverages, somewhere's exposed and that's why you're seeing success with other people," Smith said. "It's not just the traditional double teams in man, and you get the guys who get the snapshot and it's like, 'Oooo he's not doubled.' That's not necessarily the case. You have certain coverages, progressions and there's reads. We can move him around and we'll continue to push the envelope there, but there may be some things we ask him to sacrifice early on to make sure that we are clean in the run game and even in some of the protection stuff, but we have targeted him, and he knows that."

And Smith's parting words on the matter? They echoed a similar sentiment to last year when everyone was questioning Pitts usage against the Giants.

"The ball will find him," Smith said. "He's going to break out here again, and we're going to win because of it."


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