The Atlanta Falcons underwent some significant changes this offseason. They traded their longtime starting quarterback, Matt Ryan. They saw their No. 1 wide receiver, Calvin Ridley, get suspended for the entire season. They cut ties with multiple stalwart defenders.
One thing that won’t be changing, though, is that tight end Kyle Pitts will be the centerpiece of the team’s offense. Being the top threat on a unit that doesn’t have many other high-level players to draw attention away is a tough job, so Pitts knows he needs to improve every offseason. This year, he’s working on the mental aspect of the game.
“Mentally, I’m trying to get better. There’s always room for improvement,” Pitts said at Falcons OTAs, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The mental, trying to dissect coverage faster … The mental side helps you play faster, just knowing what the defense is going to do.”
Without Ridley, with Russell Gage having signed with the division rival Buccaneers, with running back Mike Davis now in Baltimore, and the Falcons having brought in rookie wideout Drake London and traded for former Raiders receiver Bryan Edwards, the supporting cast around Pitts is much different than it was a year ago.
“It’s different, but it’s great meeting new people,” Pitts said. “These are great guys. We’re really close. We’ve gotten close fast. We hang out a lot. It’s a new feel. We’re trying to bring camaraderie together and build chemistry.”
That crew will be tasked with helping Marcus Mariota (and potentially Desmond Ridder) move the ball in Arthur Smith’s offense. It was a struggle at times for the Falcons last season, but the hope is that bringing in new pieces will at least help the team make some progress in Year 2. Pitts is expected to lead the way, and if his rookie season is any indication, he’s going to be quite good for quite a while. The physical prowess is already there, and working on the mental aspect of the game can only make him better.