Cleveland Browns: Looks like Colin Cowherd was right

CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 13: Head coach Freddie Kitchens of the Cleveland Browns yells to his players during the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 13, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 13: Head coach Freddie Kitchens of the Cleveland Browns yells to his players during the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 13, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

In what’s become the norm for the Cleveland Browns this season, the team lost a game they probably should have won. After many hot takes and shots at the Browns this year, Colin Cowherd seems to have been right in his analysis about the team and Freddie Kitchens.

The 2019 Cleveland Browns lack several key things you need to be successful in the NFL. They lack an offensive identity, leadership on the field and on the sidelines, and a gameplan that helps them avoid beating themselves.

Most of all, however, the Browns lack discipline, and that falls squarely on the shoulders of head coach Freddie Kitchens.

Back in April, before the season even began, FS1’s Colin Cowherd spoke on a report from an anonymous NFL source that said, when asked about the Browns 2019 season, that, “…it could get ugly fast.” Cowherd mentioned at that time that Freddie Kitchens “has a chance to be in over his head.”

After nine weeks, it might finally be safe to say that while Cowherd may have an agenda against Cleveland in some regards, he was totally right on this one. Freddie Kitchens is, in fact, in way over his head.

It goes way beyond the bad in game decision-making too. Yes, he has made way too many head scratching calls, including taking Nick Chubb off the field on key plays and throwing challenge flags on plays that have little to no chance of being overturned.

The biggest issue is the lack of accountability and discipline that Kitchens has instilled in this team. It goes beyond just the penalties that are seen week in and week out, too. The same guys are getting called for the same things on a weekly basis, and the lack of adjustment by Kitchens and his coaching staff is concerning.

But let’s say you’re one of those that doesn’t blame the coaching staff for penalties. There are still other cases of this Browns team lacking the basic discipline it needs to win. Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry were both forced to change cleats at halftime of the Browns game against the Broncos on Sunday.

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OBJ wore cleats that had the Joker on them, while Landry wore gold cleats with orange laces. The NFL told both players they had to either change cleats at halftime or they wouldn’t be allowed to play.

While many fans were upset, saying the NFL and the refs were targeting OBJ and the Browns, both players were in direct violation of the league’s rules regarding footwear. Section 4, Article 3 of the NFL rulebook covers the uniform policy, and by its definition, OBJ and Landry clearly are in violation of the stated rules.

"“All players on the same team must wear shoes with the same dominant color. Approved shoe styles will contain one team color which must be the same for all players on a given team. A player may wear an unapproved standard football shoe style as long as the player tapes over the entire shoe to conform to his team’s selected dominant color. Logos, names, or other commercial identification on shoes are not permitted to be visible unless advance approval is granted by the League office.”"

The league has allowed players the chance to wear different cleats and accessories during pregame warm-ups, but they much change into appropriate attire before the game begins. Not only should Beckham and Jarvis Landry know these rules, but so should the coaching staff and Freddie Kitchens.

The blatant lack of willingness to follow rules as simple as wearing the right cleats falls on the head coach, and nobody else. Kitchens’ inability to ensure his players are following these simple rules are another example that he’s in over his head.

A head coach has to keep his players accountable for their actions and ensure they know and follow the rules, be it league rules or rules set by them within the organization. When Jason Garrett took over as the Dallas Cowboys head coach, he set a rule that all players wear a suit before the game. When running back Marion Barber decided he didn’t want to follow that rule, Garrett held him out of the game. Like him or not, Garrett held Barber accountable and disciplined his team thus earning their respect.

If the Browns want to have any success, they need to find someone that will provide that kind of discipline to this team. Right now, the Browns have a coach that is clearly in over his head. Kitchens is who he is, and he isn’t going to change now. He isn’t going to be the one that holds this team accountable and be able to provide discipline and leadership to a Browns team that desperately needs it.

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While Browns fans aren’t going to want to admit it, Colin Cowherd may have been right when he said Freddie Kitchens wasn’t the man for the job and was in over his head. It goes beyond the discipline issues, for sure, but that’s one glaring weakness that can’t be ignored by anyone in or around the Cleveland Browns organization.