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Sunday, June 7, 2020

Articles tagged: Freddie Kitchens

10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 13

Bill Belichick

There are only four weeks to go in the NFL regular season, which means we’ll be watching a lot of huge games in the weeks to come. With bye weeks finished and everybody in action the rest of the way, every game is big in some way, even if the outcomes only affect draft position. Sunday was no different, effectively kicking off the stretch run of the season.

Here are 10 big disappointments from Week 13.

New England Patriots

The Patriots entered Sunday night with the best record in the league at 10-1 and the No. 1 defense. But they looked nothing like the best team in the league during their loss at Houston. The offense struggled to get anything going for most of the game, with Tom Brady taking sacks and complaining about his receivers’ inability to get open. The defense allowed four touchdowns in what was their worst performance since the Baltimore loss. Even kicker Kai Forbath missed an extra point. The Pats are 2-2 in their last four and their 22 points (mostly in garbage time Sunday night) was their high mark during that span. Brady seems to have seen this coming.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles looked like a disaster, particularly on defense, against the lowly Miami Dolphins. They were victimized by one of the better trick plays we’ve seen, sure, but Miami also put up 409 yards of total offense on them and totally deserved to win the game. Add in lingering concerns about how good Carson Wentz really is, and the Eagles have a lot to think about. Losses like this tend to cause a reckoning in Philadelphia.

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Freddie Kitchens not blaming ‘Pittsburgh Started It’ shirt for loss

Freddie Kitchens Browns

The Pittsburgh Steelers won the long-awaited rematch with the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, and Browns coach Freddie Kitchens was left in a rather embarrassing situation as a result.

Kitchens was photographed wearing a shirt Friday that read “Pittsburgh Started It,” in reference to the fight the two teams had on Nov. 14. That made a few headlines prior to Sunday’s game, but the Browns lost 20-13.

After the game, Kitchens reiterated that the shirt was a gag gift from his daughters, and said that his decision to wear it had nothing to do with Pittsburgh’s win.

The implication is that Kitchens’ shirt might have added a little bit of extra motivation for the Steelers. He’s probably right that it wasn’t a factor. The Steelers needed this game to keep their playoff hunt moving forward, and many of the key figures from November’s game weren’t involved here, one by Kitchens’ own decision. Even if it didn’t have an impact on the game, though, it didn’t turn out to be a great look for Kitchens.

Freddie Kitchens has no worries about Myles Garrett incident impacting Browns

Freddie Kitchens Browns

The Cleveland Browns won last week, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-7. Very few remember that now because of the fight that happened at the end of that game that, at least for now, will cost Myles Garrett the remainder of the season.

The Browns still have more to play for. They’re 4-6, but with four games against the Bengals, Dolphins, and Cardinals left, can at least claim to have a chance of saving their season. Garrett’s actions have the potential to hang over the team, but coach Freddie Kitchens is confident that won’t happen.

Even as Kitchens proclaims that his team will be fine mentally, things may be different on paper. Garrett is Cleveland’s best defender, and their pass rush will be significantly diminished without his presence. Even with Garrett’s appeal pending, he almost certainly won’t be back in 2019.

Freedie Kitchens unlikely to be fired, but this Browns-Steelers stat sure is something

Freddie Kitchens Browns

Freddie Kitchens’ job status in Cleveland is shaky, but that does not necessarily mean a firing is coming in the immediate future despite an incredibly ominous trend.

The Browns host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night, which led a crazy stat to be circulated. The last six Browns coaches have all been fired after a loss to the Steelers.

That fact should have put Kitchens on high alert.

So why has this happened historically? Five of the six coaches (everyone except Hue Jackson) were fired at the end of the season. The Browns end the season against a divisional opponent and have a 33 percent chance of that being Pittsburgh. Under all those coaches, they were completing poor seasons, and the loss to the Steelers was by at least double-digits.

Kitchens may be one-and-done in Cleveland, but it would be surprising to see them fire him so early, or even after the teams’ second meeting in Week 13.

Report: ‘Increasing belief’ Browns will fire Freddie Kitchens before end of season

Freddie Kitchens Browns

Freddie Kitchens has looked like a horrendous head coaching hire for the Browns, but it is rare that an NFL coach would be fired during his first year on the job. If things don’t improve down the stretch in Cleveland, Kitchens may not make it through 16 games.

The Browns have quickly established themselves as a model of wasted potential, and Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report was told by multiple NFL team officials that there is an “increasing belief” Kitchens could be fired before the end of the season. If the Browns decide against an in-season firing, the consensus is that Kitchens will be dismissed after Week 17.

It’s tough to judge a coach after just one year on the job, but Kitchens is clearly in over his head. Oftentimes new coaches struggle because they are dealing with depleted rosters and teams that are in rebuild mode, but the Browns are loaded with talent and simply can’t figure out how to utilize it.

Baker Mayfield thrived under Kitchens last season when Kitchens was Cleveland’s offensive coordinator, but there’s a big difference between that job and being a head coach. It’s also noteworthy that he has been calling plays this season, and it doesn’t sound like he plans to give that responsibility up despite the 2-6 record and an offense that ranks 25th in the NFL with 19.0 points per game.

If the Browns decide to wait until the offseason to show Kitchens the door, it would not be the first time they fired a head coach after just one year. Rob Chudzinski was dismissed following his lone 4-12 season in 2013, and he had a lot less to work with than Kitchens. At this point, it would be a shock if Kitchens is asked to return in 2020.

Browns OC says he is not taking over playcalling duties from Freddie Kitchens

Freddie Kitchens Browns

The Cleveland Browns are clearly in need of some major changes on the offensive side of the ball, but head coach Freddie Kitchens giving up his playcalling duties is not going to be one of them.

Browns offensive coordinator Todd Monken was asked on Thursday about the possibility of him calling some plays during the second half of the season, and he said it is not something that has been considered. Monken said he knew from the start that he would not be responsible for playcalling and doesn’t expect that to change.

It’s unclear exactly which responsibilities Monken has been given, because he does not seem to have much involvement in Cleveland’s scheme. As Evan Silva of Establish the Run notes, Monken has historically designed offenses that feature a lot of throws downfield, and the Browns have not done a whole lot of that.

Kitchens faced questions about whether or not he would give up playcalling duties following a rough game early on this season. He quickly slammed the door on that possibility, and things have not improved since.

Despite their numerous weapons, the Browns rank 25th in the NFL with just 19.0 points scored per game. Not allowing someone else on his staff to call some plays could ultimately cost Kitchens his job, but that is apparently a risk he is willing to take.

Freddie Kitchens promises to find Kareem Hunt role in Browns’ offense

Kareem Hunt

The Cleveland Browns will have Kareem Hunt in the fold for the first time this week as his eight-game suspension ends. How they’ll work him into the offense is unclear, but coach Freddie Kitchens promised to do just that.

Kitchens said Hunt will “definitely” have a part to play in the offense despite the Cleveland running game being dominated by Nick Chubb right now.

Hunt ran for 1,327 yards as a rookie. The talent is there. He also hasn’t played all year, and the Browns have no real reason to displace Chubb, who’s on pace to blow past 1,000 yards with ease. This would be a challenge for any coach to manage, but given some of the decisions Kitchens has made this season, there might be some worry about whether he can find a solution that suits everyone.