The Cleveland Browns’ season, as far as postseason hopes are concerned, is all but over. The intrigue about what happens next is just starting.
Early Sunday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the Browns supported coach Freddie Kitchens and want him to be Browns head coach long term. Then the Browns played on Sunday.
Cleveland took a damaging hit in the playoff race after a 38-24 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The Browns, who are 6-8, are the only NFL team that will not post a winning record this decade. That wasn’t how this season was supposed to go.
“I don’t care about my future as Browns coach,” Kitchens said after Sunday’s game, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. “I’m going to show up Monday, and I’m going to do the best job that I can do Monday.”
The loss was bad. The sight of receiver Jarvis Landry yelling at Kitchens on the sideline, as Landry was frustrated to not be more involved, might have been worse.
Jarvis Landry has words for Freddie Kitchens
Landry had a quiet game, and it was surprising because he has emerged as the most consistent threat in the Browns’ passing game. Coming off the field in the fourth quarter, Landry had some heated words with Kitchens.
Jarvis Landry is clearly upset with Freddie Kitchens.
— Everything Cleveland (@EverythingCLE_) December 15, 2019
They both downplayed it after the game.
“I love Jarvis Landry,” Kitchens said, via the Beacon Journal. “Jarvis is my kind of player as far as fiery, and things happen. It’s no big deal.
“Everybody respects Freddie,” Landry said. “I will continue to be loyal to Freddie and everything that he’s doing here. Just because we had a difference today and it seemed like a difference today to everybody or to the world, it doesn’t mean I don’t have respect for him. I still have tremendous respect for him.”
Things happen on a sideline. Tensions rise and words are exchanged. It usually is no big deal. But the optics, considering how everything has fallen apart this season, including the play-calling, aren’t good.
Browns have had really disappointing season
If someone at the Browns is leaking to the league’s site that Kitchens will return, that’s probably what will happen. A terrible end to the season might force the Browns to consider all their options.
Sunday wasn’t a good step as far as that goes. The Browns, through most of their history since 1999, have simply been bad. They haven’t had the talent to compete. That isn’t the case anymore. Cleveland has star players. It’s not a perfect roster by any means, but it should be better than this. The Browns shouldn’t be eliminated already in a weak AFC wild-card race.
Whether a decision has been made on Kitchens, there will have to be some tough choices this offseason to make sure this horrible Browns season doesn’t repeat itself. The final two games could shape some of those decisions.
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