The Falcons lost one of their best offensive players potentially for the rest of the season in tight end Kyle Pitts, who was placed on injured reserve this week with a torn MCL.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota said this week that losing Pitts is “tough,” though he noted the tight end was in good spirits.
Still, Mariota said the club really can’t easily replace Pitts and what he does for the offense.
“You talk about earlier in the year with a guy like CP [Cordarrelle Patterson], you had to fill that role with a few other guys. It’s kind of a similar situation with Kyle,” Mariota said in his Wednesday press conference. “He turned into one of our better blocking tight ends, he’s such a force in the passing game, so to fill that void you got to have a couple of guys step up and we got a great tight end group, and I think we’re more than capable of doing that.”
With the Falcons sporting a run-based offense with Mariota behind center, Atlanta currently ranks 31st in passing yards and attempts. That necessarily means Pitts’ numbers are significantly down from where they were when he was a rookie.
Pitts has caught 28 passes for 356 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Last year, he finished with 68 catches for 1,026 yards with one touchdown.
The Falcons have MyColt Pruitt, Filipe Franks, Anthony Firkser, and Parker Hesse at tight end who will have to step up in Pitts’ absence. But given the way that Atlanta’s offense has played all year, it seems unlikely that the club will suddenly utilize the position substantially more in the passing game.