One number to know heading into Washington's Week 4 meeting with the Falcons

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One number to know heading into WFT's Week 4 meeting vs. Falcons originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Before every one of Washington's matchups for the 2021 season, Pete Hailey will present one number to know for that particular battle.

Here's what's on his mind, and what should be on your mind, for when the squad hits the road to face off with the Falcons.

3.67

When the Falcons selected Kyle Pitts fourth overall this past April, they made him the highest-drafted tight end in NFL history. Coming out of Florida, Pitts was commended for having "the traits and talent to create mismatches similar to those created by Calvin Johnson and Tyreek Hill."

Those are some legitimately freaky comparisons.

However, through three games, Pitts has been relatively quiet for Atlanta, which is where this week's number comes into play. He's by no means a bust or an overhyped prospect, but he just hasn't broken out yet — and Washington would like to keep it that way.

In his first trio of pro appearances, Pitts has averaged 3.67 catches per outing. He had four receptions in his debut, five after that and just two last Sunday against the Giants. He's totaled 31, 73 and 35 yards in those efforts.

Those are solid contributions, sure, but they aren't Pro Bowl-caliber or frightening in any way, either. The question for Jack Del Rio's defense is if they'll be able to limit Pitts like his previous opponents have, or if they'll be the first unit to be on the wrong end of his full potential.

Unfortunately, there's a bit of evidence to suggest the second outcome may be the one to expect.

In Week 1, the Chargers' Jared Cook had five grabs for 56 yards at FedEx Field, and in Week 3, Dawson Knox of the Bills hauled in four balls for 49 yards and a score. For both players, their performances versus the Burgundy and Gold represented their best stats of the year — and Pitts is much more dynamic than each of them. 

So far, Matt Ryan and the Falcons have been rather anemic on offense. He's only averaging 6 yards-per-attempt at quarterback and they're currently 29th in the league in scoring as a whole. They aren't nearly as scary as they once were.

One way for them to correct those issues would be to get Pitts more involved. Washington has been especially poor at taking away the middle of the field in 2021, which is an area where the tight end could thrive on Sunday. He also hasn't found the end zone yet, suggesting he hasn't been much of a red zone weapon.

Washington, of course, would prefer Pitts to remain somewhat of an afterthought, a guy who gets a couple of catches here and there but nothing too consistent or well beyond the secondary. If this is the afternoon where he emerges, on the other hand, then their season could continue to do the opposite.