New Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota has the benefit of playing with one of the most talented young players in the NFL in Kyle Pitts.
Pitts became just the second-rookie tight end in history to break the 1,000-yard mark behind only Mike Ditka. He’s been described as a unicorn because of his size, speed, and catch radius, and Mariota likes what he has seen from the 21-year old Pitts.
“No, I wouldn’t sit here and compare him to anybody else,” said Mariota. “I think he’s got a very unique skill set, one that benefits us, and we’ve got to just find ways to get him the ball.”
Mariota has meshed early with Pitts.
“I think he just really makes it easy on us,” said Mariota. “For a guy his size with his catch radius, his length, his ability to get in and out of cuts makes it easy on us. His body language as a receiver makes it simple. We know when he’s coming in and out of breaks, we know when he’s going to break down. It’s a credit to him and I think as we continue through camp, that’s just going to continue to grow.”
READ MORE: How Much are the Atlanta Falcons Worth?
Pitts played his first game with the Falcons as a 20-year old, but general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith have always been impressed with Pitts’ maturity.
Mariota is learning first hand that Pitts is beyond his years both mentally and with the nuances of the game.
“Everyone’s got a skillset, everyone can always get a little better at some things,” said Mariota when asked about Pitts as a route runner. “For Kyle, it’s just continuing to push some of those things so that he can run really anything on the field that allows him to get into different situations and different matchups.”
Mariota also commented on the culture with the Falcons this season, and thinks the sum of their parts can be greater than the individuals during a rebuild.
“I think if you look across the league, everyone is very talented,” said Mariota. “I think game in and game out, there’s going to be guys on the other side of the ball, that you’re like he’s a great player and I think we have those types of players here but what it comes down to is, talent can only take you so far.”
“When you have a group of guys who are willing to sacrifice and go out there and put in the work, that’s when your team gets better. You start getting guys that really believe in what you are doing. It’s fun to be around, I think we have a young group of guys that really just enjoy being around each other and enjoy coming out and competing and that’s half the battle man.”
“If you can get that out of your young cats, I think you’re going to do some pretty good things.”