Freddie Kitchens admits that he’s still learning how to call plays

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The notion that someone asked Browns coach Freddie Kitchens whether he’ll give up playcalling duties may have seemed odd in isolation. When considering the full context of Kitchens’ day-after-a-loss-to-the-Rams press conference, it makes a lot of sense.

Kitchens continued to address on Monday the failure to call a single running play with first and goal in the final minute, a seven-point deficit, and all three timeouts.

“I do wish I would have given the ball to Nick [Chubb] one time, but it did not happen,” Kitchens told reporters. “As you move forward, and I have to understand this, I know our coaches understand this and I think our team understands this is that some of these situations are new for me. I understand that, but I also understand that I will get better from it and I understand our team will get better from them. Our team has not been in that situation before, so our team will get better. The next time that arises, we will be better because of it. The thing I want to stress to everyone is we are building this thing.”

That’s fine, but let’s be fair. Is it really that hard for someone who has spent his entire adult life coaching football to realize that it may be a good idea to call a running play during that specific sequence? The entirety of my own playcalling experience comes from playing Madden, but if you give me the ball first and goal down seven with less than a minute and three timeouts, I’ll know that it makes sense to consider running the ball at least once.

“We are not panicking, but we also understand the shortcomings we have had,” Kitchens said. “I understand the shortcomings that I have had. I am going to get it better. Our team is going to get better.”

Still, should Kitchens really be a work in progress as a playcaller? He’s an NFL head coach, and he called plays for half of the season in 2018.

What’s new for Kitchens is the task of thinking about the next play while also keeping in mind the bigger picture of when to call timeouts and otherwise manage the game. And if Kitchens is struggling to balance those micro and macro concepts (he wouldn’t be the first), it makes sense to consider delegating the playcalling to offensive coordinator Todd Monken. That’s why Kitchens was asked the question.

“You can write that if you want to, but that is not even feasible,” Kitchens said in response. “That is not being considered. No, it is not.”

Kitchens was asked later whether he’d have Monken call plays for a stretch in order “to see if things improve and create a sense of urgency.”

“It is not going to happen,” Kitchens said.

Then came the last question on the topic: Can Kitchens and Monken collaborate on playcalling?

“It is me,” Kitchens said. “It is my fault. No, it is me. Todd does a great job during the course of the week of making sure we stay on task, we stay organized and all that kind of stuff. When things mess up, it is going to be me.”

That’s fine, but if/when things mess up enough regarding playcalling, it will be Kitchens who ends up out the door.

31 responses to “Freddie Kitchens admits that he’s still learning how to call plays

  1. If he keeps this up, Browns fans aren’t going to welcome Kitchens into their living rooms on Sundays.

    (You can’t unread that pun. Just learn to cope.)

  2. A running backs coach was made the head coach when he wasn’t even the one designing the offense all of last year.
    Good luck with that! The browns have some talent but I don’t see many wins.

  3. he’s not going to relinquish the play calling.
    Once these coaches get power & control they don’t give it up.

  4. Four passes in a row, with all 3 time outs still available.

    Man.

    It’s almost like you have a loudmouth QB who chose the head coach, and a diva wide receiver or two.

  5. Focus on drafting lots of good offensive linemen. My opinion is draft really, really heavy on O linemen. Play calling will get easier when Baker Mayfield isn’t running for his life.
    Why would you trade a good O lineman for Olivia Vernon?

  6. So, essentially he just said: “I don’t know how to do it but I’m not going to turn the job over to somebody who does.” There’s a real recipe for success!

  7. Like him or not, Williams is the one who had that team playing well last year, not Kitchens. They hired the wrong guy.

  8. As a Browns fan first kudos to the team for hanging in there. Could have won – without starting DBs. This team will be just fine.

    Freddie though after 3 games is starting to remind me of Hue.

  9. Enough with the Gregg Williams stuff. Everyone hates him wherever he goes. Scott Fujita is a classy dude who rarely says anything negative but made it clear that the super bowl defense succeeded in spite of Gregg Williams. GW is now feuding with Gase in NY.

    The Browns may be struggling now, but it ain’t because Gregg Williams isn’t there.

  10. Hindsight is always 20-20 … who knows what he was having shouted into his ear from the other coaches .. “Fred, I’m sure this play will work!” … but we hear none of that. We hear, it’s all on me and I will get better. I like that in a coach.

  11. Is it really that hard for someone who has spent his entire adult life coaching football to realize that it may be a good idea to call a running play during that specific sequence?
    ——
    You’ve heard the dude speak….it might be hard for him.

  12. We also had this discussion/argument after a particular Super Bowl … Seattle-NE

    similar to one being had at the local pub waiting for MNF to start …

  13. This is what happens to rookie head coaches that put together there first staff. There should be somebody on that staff with the balls to give suggestions if not they are in for a long season. The situation he messed up was not real complicated to say the least.

  14. I love all the Browns haters saying that Freddie was running his mouth in the offseason – do some research before spewing your garbage. Freddie was the one CONTINUALLY saying that he didn’t care about hype and predictions and all that – all he cared about was winning and getting better. There was NO ego from this guy.

    Seriously… know what you’re talking about before spewing it all over the internet.

  15. dawgpoundjedi says:
    September 24, 2019 at 11:41 am
    I love all the Browns haters saying that Freddie was running his mouth in the offseason – do some research before spewing your garbage. Freddie was the one CONTINUALLY saying that he didn’t care about hype and predictions and all that – all he cared about was winning and getting better. There was NO ego from this guy.

    Seriously… know what you’re talking about before spewing it all over the internet.

    7 0 Rate This
    ________________________________________

    He was also the coach who openly picked and chose who he held accountable on the team and who he accepted as “just being themselves” and now here we are with the Browns being the most penalized team in the league.

    Yeah, he didn’t care about the hype because he was too busy playing up how tough he was on his players because he was making the backups do wind sprints while the starters where sipping fruity drinks on the sidelines because they didn’t have to play in the pre-season. This is a year after Kitchens complained to Hue Jackson on hard knocks for holding out players for being HURT. He’s the stereotypical intern who thinks he can do the CEO’s job mindset and now it’s come back to bite him.

  16. I think Cleveland is littered with really good people. I actually feel for you. The only thing worse than the current organization, is the fact that Art moved the former Browns team. Oh yeah, you once had BB on your sideline but fired him… That’s pretty bad too.

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