Clueless in Cleveland, Browns should be concerned about Kitchens

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 07: Head coach Freddie Kitchens of the Cleveland Browns looks on prior to the start of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers of the Cleveland Browns at Levi's Stadium on October 07, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 07: Head coach Freddie Kitchens of the Cleveland Browns looks on prior to the start of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers of the Cleveland Browns at Levi's Stadium on October 07, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens’ is on the hot seat. At least if he is not on the hot seat, he absolutely should be.

The Cleveland Browns have a serious mess in head coach Freddie Kitchens. It may be too early to fire him, but with Jimmy Haslam as the owner of the team, nothing is impossible. One thing that’s for sure though, he has absolutely coached in a manner that deserves firing.

Kitchens was hired because he was an “offensive genius” who turned around Baker Mayfield after the last regime was fired. His hiring fit the new NFL trend of hiring the offensive genius along with a defensive coordinator with head coaching experience. The Browns are clearly following the Los Angeles Rams’ super team formula.

The formula would work if Freddie was actually an offensive genius. Early into Freddie’s tenure former Browns offensive line coach Bob Wylie stated that it was actually Kenny Zampese that did the offensive coaching. Jeff Risdon of Brownswire quotes Wylie as saying:

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"Kenny Zampese did all the coaching there. Baker likes Freddie, so that had to (inaudible) into the decision (to hire Kitchens). . . . Al Saunders did the red zone. I did all the protections.  – Bob Wylie, via Risdon"

It would be easy to dismiss Wylie’s comments,  except for the areas he mentions are the exact areas in which Browns’ offense is struggling.

Cleveland has no discernible identity or game plan on offense. It is like the are shooting from the hip every series. There is no definable plan or formula through which the Browns operate.  Watching their games, you see a coach who just starts calling everything trying to fine something, anything, that actually works.

The offensive line has struggled with protections. Yes, they lost their right guard. It happens. Losing the right guard doesn’t cause the right tackle or left tackle to forget how to block.

Yet, that is what they have done. I recently wrote an article claiming the Browns need to go back to the protection scheme they used last year. What’s the difference between those two seasons. Maybe Bob Wylie creating the protection schemes?

The red zone offense is a joke. Just look at the game against the Seahawks. Who calls for a pass in the red zone with less than two minutes before half? The Browns had been running effectively, just give the ball to the running back.

Instead, Freddie runs hurry up when they should be running the clock, calls a pass and the Browns turn over the ball. That sequence changed the entire game. That’s on Freddie. Maybe if former wide receivers coach Al Saunders was still doing the red zone plays this wouldn’t have happened.

I want to discount Wylie’s comments but they ring true with what is happening in the games. Freddie Kitchens’ offensive game planning, protection schemes, and red zone offensive is garbage. He looks like a coach who shouldn’t be running an offense.

But he is not only running an offense, but he is also running an entire team. He is running the team about as well as he is ru(i)nning the offense. Freddie Kitchens’ is absolutely clueless when it comes to clock management.

Let me repeat that. Freddie Kitchens’ is absolutely clueless in respect to clock management. He clearly does not understand the concept of calling plays (period) and how they work in conjunction with clock management and the flow of the game.

The website Head Coach Ranking regularly ranks NFL head coaches by their performances per week. They also keep an overall ranking for the season. Freddie Kitchen’s is currently tied for 30th in the overall rankings.

He only ranks higher than one other coach in the league. That coach is the New York Jets’ coach Adam Gase. Gase is a disaster and is on the hot seat. Kitchen’s is tied for 30th with former Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden, who was recently fired. That means that every other head coach is ranked higher than Kitchens. This is an embarrassment.

Kitchens regularly makes asinine decisions as a head coach. He regularly goes into halftime or the end the game with all three time outs. He’s the master of allowing the other team to score before the half. He fails to challenge plays when he should. He has no clue how to manage the clock. He fails to get the best out of his players who look like they are quitting on him.

The team is undisciplined. The Browns are currently second in the league in penalties. This is an improvement over being the worst in the league in penalties. The discipline and attitude that was displayed under interim head coach Gregg Williams are gone.

There are fans out there who will claim that he is a rookie head coach who needs time to develop. The reality is Freddie is not ready to coach in the NFL.

This is the NFL. There are only 32 of these jobs. There are qualified candidates, some with experience, who can do the job better than Freddie. The NFL is a results business. It is all wins and losses.

With the talent Freddie has at his disposal, this team should have more wins. There is no time for on the job training. Ready or not, the NFL is coming for you. So far, the NFL has got Freddie. He does not even look like he is putting up a fight. The NFL is playing chess to Freddie’s trying to figure out how to play checkers.

The Dawg Pound has been through enough coaches who can’t coach to spot one. Either you can coach or you cannot coach. Freddie cannot coach, right now. He needs time to learn to be an offensive coordinator before being a head coach. General manager John Dorsey made a huge mistake hiring him right now.

It is time for Freddie to hand over the offense to an experienced offensive coordinator in Todd Monken. Freddie needs to focus on clock management and overall game management. He needs to figure out how to keep his players motivated and playing for him.

In short, Kitchens is failing at two jobs. He is failing at offensive coordinator. He is failing at being a head coach. Freddie is on the hot seat. His seat should be nuclear hot. He needs to change before the Browns make a change.

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Seahawks fans may be Sleepless in Seattle over their team. But right now the Browns head coach is Clueless in Cleveland. This city deserves better.