After missing three straight practices with a hamstring injury, the team went ahead and ruled out Pitts on Friday morning.
The Falcons will turn to Parker Hesse, Anthony Firkser and Feleipe Franks to fill the void left by Pitts at TE.
Pitts’ Overall Production Has Been a Disappointment
Falcons fans are still waiting for a breakout game from Pitts and a touchdown on American soil.
The Falcons are off to an impressive 2-2 start to the season, however, Pitts hasn’t been utilized much at all. Through the four games so far, the 2021 first-round pick, has 22 targets and has yet to score a touchdown, let alone record a 100-yard effort.
While he may be frustrated with himself on the inside over his lack of targets, he’s certainly not showing it.
“I’m not going to the coaches and yelling,” Pitts said following Week 2’s 30-27 loss to the Rams. I’m not going to Marcus (Mariota) and yelling. It is what it is. It’s a long season. Definitely, I am frustrated with myself because I am a hard critic on myself. That’s just a me thing. I just want to perform at my highest ability.”
Speaking of the coaches, head coach Arthur Smith, who has been heckled by fans, isn’t worried about what they think nor sees a problem with Pitts’ usage.
“Kyle is a huge part of our offense,” Smith said. “You just have to take it with context. Other guys made plays. It’s not fantasy football. We’re just trying to win. We will continue to look at everything and try to get better.”
Hesse Has Been Working Hard for His Moment
Prior to entering the NFL, Hesses spent his college career playing defensive end.
In fact, Falcons’ star guard Chris Lindstrom remembered lining up across from him at the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl when Boston College took on Iowa.
Now, the two are playing on the same side of the ball together.
“It’s awesome,” Lindstrom said during an interview with D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC last month. “He’s a great guy. Just the changes that he’s made are really admirable.”
Hesse originally joined the league as a defensive end following the 2019 draft after signing with the Tennesse Titans––who ended up converting him to a blocking tight end.
He spent two seasons on the Titans’ practice squad before joining the Atlanta Falcons in 2021. He saw action in eight games and made a single start last fall, catching five of six targets for 43 yards.
2022 was his first year ever making a team’s initial 53-man roster and it’s great timing considering that he feels comfortable at the tight end position.
“Fortunately, this is my fourth year playing tight end, so it’s almost as much as I was playing defense in college,” Hesse said. “So, it’s starting to come naturally to me, and that’s just credit to the coaches, pretty much, that I’ve had the last four years, that have spent time developing me, teaching me.”