Kyle Pitts’ tight ends coach in 2020 was Justin Peelle’s tight ends coach in 2002, and now Peelle will get the opportunity to impart the kind of wisdom Tim Brewster once gave him. That’s a fun little circle, but if all goes well, it’ll be much more than that for the Falcons.
Tori McElhaney’s writeup at The Athletic the other day was an interesting one about this very topic, so go read that for a cool history about how Brewster helped Peelle get on the path to a fine NFL career and his thoughts about Pitts. It’s yet another wrinkle in a really great story, considering Peelle went from catching passes from Matt Ryan to coaching a tight end who will now be catching passes from Matt Ryan.
For our purposes, the most interesting and relevant thing here is what Peelle can do for Pitts. I hate to bring up the possibility of Julio being traded three times in one day—I genuinely, genuinely do—but if there’s a remote possibility of #11 being moved, Pitts is going to have to be ready to contribute in a major way immediately in 2021. Even if that doesn’t happen, getting Pitts to hit the ground running will be an essential part of this offense’s improvement in 2021, because at his best the rookie tight end is a nightmare to defend against.
Pitts seems excited to learn from his new coach, and is familiar with his game, which probably will help.
“I used to watch some of his tape,” Pitts said. “He was a great tight end, so just to learn from someone who has played the position. He has a lot of knowledge about the game, so I am excited to see what he has in store to teach me.”
And that’s exactly how Brewster believes Peelle will excel. “He’ll be a tremendous teacher for Kyle.”
The Falcons may or may not have already been thinking ahead to Pitts when they hired Peelle, but he was one of the most intriguing assistants this team picked up regardless because of the work he did in Philadelphia. Peelle has been with the Eagles in an assistant tight ends coach or head tight ends coach position since Zach Ertz was a rookie, meaning it’s fair to give him at least partial credit for the caliber of player Ertz has become, to say nothing of Dallas Goedert. The fact that Peelle has such a strong background and can give Pitts an early leg up on working with Ryan, a quarterback he’s plenty familiar with, feels like it’ll pay early dividends for Atlanta.
Pitts is such a good player that I’d be expecting him to be a huge piece of this offense in 2021 regardless of who his tight ends coach was. The fact that it’s Peelle, who in turn has such strong ties to Pitts’ college coach, should only help him hit the ground running.