As you might have heard, the Cleveland Browns’ most hyped season in recent memory has not been going as hoped.
Between Myles Garrett’s now-infamous helmet-bonking of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and Baker Mayfield’s sophomore struggles, the team has been loudly struggling at 5-7 and head coach Freddie Kitchens’ seat is getting hotter by the week.
A report from cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot on Saturday shed a little more light on what’s going on behind the scenes with Kitchens’ staff, and it doesn’t reflect well on the coach:
There’s a disconnect between offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who answers for the offense every Thursday and has jokingly called it his weekly “dentist appointment,” and Kitchens, who calls the plays on game day with input from Monken, quarterbacks coach Ryan Lindley, and some say even inactive quarterback Drew Stanton.
Some say the quarterbacks have too much influence, and others say there are too many cooks in with Kitchens on game day. They tried to clear the air midseason, but it apparently didn’t do much good.
Monken’s hiring was widely seen as a solid get for Kitchens after three years in the same position as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As the Browns offense struggled, the idea of Kitchens handing over offensive play-calling duties to Monken has been broached multiple times.
As for Lindley, he joined the narrative of the Browns’ struggles last week when he and wide receiver Jarvis Landry were seen in a heated argument during their loss to the Steelers. Per Cabot, the Browns have declined to make Landry available for interview since the incident.
It’s not exactly a surprise that the Browns’ coaches are experiencing dysfunction. You don’t go from preseason Super Bowl hype to 5-7 and losing to Devlin Hodges without some kind of dysfunction.
That’s pretty much where the Browns are right now. The head coach and the offensive coordinator aren’t jelling. The team’s most talented offensive player is openly musing about his employment status. The team’s most talented defensive player is suspended for the rest of the season. The team’s quarterback of the future has one more touchdown than interceptions. One of the team’s veteran leaders is loudly arguing with its quarterbacks coach on the sidelines.
There could still be enough hope for the future if you squint hard enough, but that would likely have to come with some foundational changes just months after the team’s fans finally thought it had a clear path forward.
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