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Peter King on Baker and Kitchens

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Long article here covering all sorts and including videos but I have quoted the Baker stuff for ease of reading

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/12/17/nick-foles-eagles-rams-fmia-nfl-week-15-peter-king/?cid=fmiatwKING

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There is a reason, if you live in Ohio, to thank the heavens that Cleveland GM John Dorsey fell in love with Baker Mayfield last fall. There is also a reason to be thankful that Freddie Kitchens was handed the reins of the Browns offense seven weeks ago.

On Oct. 29, Gregg Williams took over as coach for the fired Hue Jackson, and Kitchens took over as offensive coordinator for the fired Todd Haley. The Browns are 4-2 since. Four wins. Four Mayfield fist-pumping, howling-at-the-moon wins. Previous 164 weeks: four wins.

Mayfield/Kitchens. Rarely does an NFL shotgun marriage work, never-mind flourish. “Why has it worked so well?” I asked Kitchens on Friday.

“Because Baker is starved for knowledge,” Kitchens said in his Alabama twang, the accent Mayfield imitates almost daily. “He loves learning. I’ve told him, ‘Your work in progress is never gonna be complete, ever. There’s always gonna be things you can work on, new things.’ Why limit what he can become? He loves that. You see that every week, how much he loves it.”

We saw it in real time Saturday night in Denver, with the game clock and play clock running; 12 minutes remaining, Cleveland down 13-10, first-and-goal at the Denver 2-yard line.

The Browns didn’t huddle at first, preferring to keep the Broncos in their sub defense with two defensive linemen and five defensive backs; Cleveland had run the ball well against that Denver defense, so Mayfield didn’t want them to be able to substitute. This was going to be a run by Duke Johnson, with a tight end next to the right tackle. But with 26 seconds left on the play clock, Kitchens called for him to huddle to call the play, to ensure everyone was on the same page. Quick; don’t let Denver have time to substitute, he told Mayfield. The QB hustled his 10 mates in and out of a quick huddle, looking at the Denver defense while he called the play. The Broncos had a sub—from TV, it looked like corner Bradley Roby—ready to come in, but … “Get to the line!” Kitchens yelled into Mayfield’s helmet before the sideline-to-quarterback communication shut off at 15 seconds. No defensive changes.

At the line, Mayfield got a hint the Broncos could be playing man coverage with four safeties and one corner (due to injury and an ejection). With 10, nine, eight seconds left on the play clock, Mayfield changed the play to a pass, turned around, and moved Johnson from his right to his left—physically moved him, with his hand on Johnson’s shoulder. Denver linebacker Todd Davis inched across the formation, trying not to give away what Mayfield saw: man coverage. To Mayfield’s left was a pure safety, Justin Simmons, with two games of some experience playing slot corner in his three-year career. Not outside corner, where the fleet fly. Simmons has average speed, and his man, Antonio Callaway, is a 4.4 wideout. Big edge, Browns. Mayfield knew.

Play clock at :02. Snap. Callaway got inside Simmons, easily, and broke inside on a quick slant to the middle of the field. No safety help. Easy. Pitch-and-catch, Mayfield and Callaway. Winning touchdown. Cleveland 17, Denver 16.

“What happened on that play was far beyond elementary thinking,” backup Browns quarterback Drew Stanton told me.

This single play represented huge next-level growth for Mayfield, and seven weeks of chemistry between Kitchens and Mayfield. Now, at the line, Mayfield has been given the freedom to change plays (even very late on the play clock). That’s because he’s a sponge, and has worked to learn all pre-snap contingencies, and Kitchens trusts his judgment.

In about 28 seconds, Mayfield went from run to huddle to run to moving the back physically to spying indicators of man coverage to changing the play to a pass to the winning touchdown pass to celebrating like a uniformed Tarzan, pounding his chest.

You know what I saw in that moment of intense celebration, almost over-the-top celebration, by Mayfield? Not I just put a dagger in the Broncos on the road with a huge play. To me, it was more Mayfield thinking, I am learning some serious s— right now, and I am executing it at the highest level of my profession. And I just got here.

The Browns are factors in December. Baker is starved for knowledge.

Those two things are related.

The impact of the 44-year-old Kitchens on this NFL season is so cool. He’s been touched by some strong and historic and innovative coaches. The Alabama kid played quarterback for three years under Gene Stallings in the 90s … Worked as a grad assistant on Nick Saban’s LSU staff in 2000 … Coached the tight ends (including Jason Witten) in 2006 on Bill Parcells’ last Dallas staff. “Incredibly important year,” Kitchens said. “I learned how to manage a team. I wish I had more time to learn from him. Jason Witten taught me, just by seeing him work on the field and in the film room and the meeting room, how to be an NFL coach.” … Then Kitchens went to Arizona, staying for 11 years under Ken Whisenhunt and Bruce Arians. He was quarterback coach for Carson Palmer’s four Arizona seasons.

Take that quarter-century of football experience, and you can see the results in Kitchens today. He’s no-nonsense and tough, like Stallings and Saban and Parcells. He’s quiet off the field. He’s the furthest thing from a self-promoter, which could have hurt him climbing the NFL ladder. He’s imaginative, the way Saban is on defense and Arians is on offense. He’s got a way of reaching players, even if it’s in a gravelly way, like Parcells.

“When he first took over the offense here,” said Stanton, who was Palmer’s backup in Arizona, “he was absolutely sick about Todd Haley getting fired. That’s who brought him here. But that’s Freddie. In his first meeting with the offense, he said, ‘We’re gonna be as good as everyone in this room is.’ He wanted ideas. He asked the offensive linemen, ‘What runs do you guys like?’ I’d never seen that before.”

The offense was in the bottom quartile in most categories when Kitchens took over. But in these six games, Kitchens has installed the kind of stuff Sean Payton experiments with weekly in New Orleans. Against the Panthers eight days ago, the Browns ran one of the weirdest misdirection plays of the year. Before the snap, Breshad Perriman came in motion from right to left in front of Mayfield, who was in shotgun. At the snap, Perriman turned back where he came from and got a fake handoff from Mayfield. Then Mayfield began to run left … but Jarvis Landry, also cutting from left to right, sped by Mayfield and Mayfield handed him the ball almost imperceptibly while Mayfield continued to run left with the rest of the offense, like he was going to run a keep to his left. Luke Kuechly and the Panther defense stretched with Mayfield … and Landry had an easy touchdown. Just weird. Kuechly’s never confused. But he was on this play. Clearly it was a surprise to the most instinctive linebacker in football.

“Why?” Stanton said. “Because Luke Kuechly is one of the smartest players in the league. You don’t fool him. You’ve got to show him stuff to make him think.”

In his second game as coordinator, against Atlanta, Kitchens ran the oddest running formation of the NFL year—three backs with Mayfield in a bunch formation in the shotgun. With that alignment on the field, the Browns gained nine, six and 17 yards. On ESPN the other day, Dan Orlovsky, the former NFL quarterback showed the Browns in “13” personnel—one back, three tight ends. “Are they tight ends? Is one a sixth offensive lineman? Is one split out wide like a receiver?” Orlovsky said. “They played 13 personnel five times against Carolina—and Baker went five for five. They’re doing so much imaginative stuff that Baker’s had more time to throw, from the pocket, that any quarterback in the league in the last six weeks.”

Make the defense think, and even the fastest and most instinctive defenders have to pause. “Freddie might be the Sean Payton of 13 years ago, when he got hired by New Orleans,” Orlovsky said.

“I know this: You have to have creativity to create confusion, and maybe hesitation, for the defense in this game today,” Kitchens told me. “So the team we’re gonna play next week is gonna have to work on a lotta stuff we won’t even have in the game plan.”

Kitchens sounds exactly like the kind of coach teams in a coaching search should investigate. Everyone’s looking for the next Payton, the next Sean McVay. Could it be the barrel-chested Alabamian who, despite never having been a coordinator before, has turned the Cleveland offense into must-see TV in his seven weeks on the job?

As for those aspirations, it seems ridiculously quick. And Kitchens is having none of it. “I don’t think about it,” he said. “I truly don’t. I am here to do a job at this present time. It is no different than any other job I have had. Carson had four of the best years of his life with me, and the single best year of his life with me. But I don’t clamor for attention. I never advertised for a job, never sent out propaganda for a job. I never will.”

After the touchdown strike in the fourth quarter in Denver, Mayfield went to the sideline and hugged Kitchens for four or five seconds. After the game, on NFL Network, Mayfield did a bad Kitchens-with-Alabama-accent impression. It’s clear from what they say and how they interact that no matter what caused this shotgun wedding, it’s working out well. The pictures say it, and the numbers scream it. Mayfield was 2-4 with Hue Jackson running the offense; he’s 4-2 under Kitchens. The relevant numbers, with six games started under each play-caller:

With Jackson: 58.3 percent completions, 6.59 yards per pass, 20 sacks, 78.9 rating.
With Kitchens: 71.8 percent complestions, 8.66 yards per pass, 5 sacks, 111.1 rating.

So GM John Dorsey’s got a tough decision on his hands after the season. Does he:

• Blow up the whole coaching staff and start over with a hot candidate like Josh McDaniels or Lincoln Riley, giving Mayfield his third offensive boss in nine months—and perhaps risking alienating the franchise quarterback, who has grown to like and respect Kitchens?

• Keep Gregg Williams as head coach and try to keep Kitchens as offensive coordinator, and build a staff around them?

• Keep Kitchens as offensive coordinator and find a head coach who would allow Kitchens offensive autonomy?

• Keep Williams as head coach, hope Kitchens chooses to stay, but if he doesn’t, allow Williams to hire his own offensive coordinator?

Compared to the alternatives, those are relatively nice problems to have. But they won’t be easy to solve. For now, it’s best to let this incredible year play out. The Browns, for the first time since the outlier 10-6 season, are playing for something the week before Christmas, and this fun offense is a big reason why.

 

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The future of this franchise is Baker Mayfield and if he’s all in on Freddie Kitchens he has to stay

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1 hour ago, LondonBrown said:

The future of this franchise is Baker Mayfield and if he’s all in on Freddie Kitchens he has to stay

After reading that article, you do whatever is necessary to get Kitchens to stay. But the Browns make the playoffs in 2019 with the Mayfield\Kitchens duo, it's going to be tough to keep Freddie around. DeFlippo who? 

Apparently Dorsey saw something when he fired Haley and promoted Kitchens to OC.  

Two more wins, and MHO is Williams comes along for the ride...  

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8 minutes ago, hoorta said:

After reading that article, you do whatever is necessary to get Kitchens to stay. But the Browns make the playoffs in 2019 with the Mayfield\Kitchens duo, it's going to be tough to keep Freddie around. DeFlippo who? 

Apparently Dorsey saw something when he fired Haley and promoted Kitchens to OC.  

Two more wins, and MHO is Williams comes along for the ride...  

It will be tough to keep him around but I'd guess the hope is that whoever is under Kitchens on the coaching depth chart (Ryan Lindley maybe) could step up and Baker in year 3 would be able to be his own OC at that point.

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6 hours ago, crstphr2 said:

Hire Arians and Kitchens will most likely stay.

 

I mentioned this before, but Arians and Kitchens might not be as chummy as some people assume. When Kitchens coached under Arians, Kitchens was removed as QB coach and moved to RB coach for Byron Leftwich, and according to some who knew the situation, Kitchens was none to pleased. 

Arians being named head coach does not necessarily mean he'd want Kitchens or Kitchens would want to stay to coach under Arians again. 

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“Why?” Stanton said. “Because Luke Kuechly is one of the smartest players in the league. You don’t fool him. You’ve got to show him stuff to make him think.”

*********************************************

   I love that. Kosar loved to haul off and throw a bomb on the first play of a game once in a while, just to mess with the defensive players' minds. Make them think. Kitchens just has to stay, and I think the players love Williams. Aggressive football, flat out.

The players are the key, to me. They are playing emotionally at a high TEAM level. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" absolutely.

We'll see. But the more I read, the more I see that Willaims and Kitchens are on the same page, and get along excellently, especially in regard to Baker and his important ability to change a play at the los.

*****************************************

thebrownsboard.com/topic/51950-peter-king-on-baker-and-kitchens/

'Mayfield noticed Broncos defenders following his playmakers out of the huddle and discerned that Denver was playing man coverage. Then he noticed Justin Simmons — usually a safety — guarding Callaway one-on-one. From there, it was easy. He just needed to wait for Callaway to beat Simmons and throw an accurate pass. 

“Pretty doggone good,” coach Gregg Williams said of Mayfield’s line-of-scrimmage changes. “We had the play call, (and) he saw what they were in. It does not make any difference what (offensive coordinator) Freddie (Kitchens) and I think, it is what Baker sees, and that is another step that you have to (take), and the big time guys do that all of the time.”"

 

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according to jay glazer The Browns have allready locked up Kitchens as are o.c

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1 minute ago, ATOM said:

according to jay glazer The Browns have allready locked up Kitchens as are o.c

Link?

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8 hours ago, ATOM said:

according to jay glazer The Browns have allready locked up Kitchens as are o.c

Did you see the Panthers game last night? They freaking ran almost the EXACT same play as those two Landry misdirection runs, only a week after playing us. They always say the NFL is a copycat league, and it's true. Guess what? The play worked beautifully, lol. Only problem is that the receiver didn't tuck the ball and he had a HUGE fumble after running 20 yards. What a killer. 

I honestly don't see how you can fire Gregg Williams and Freddie Kitchens. It really doesn't seem like a possibility. And I'll go one further. I'd actually announce the extension of Williams and Kitchens now. It would galvanize the team and cement the fact that this group of men is trying to make something special, and even if we can't go to the playoffs this year, we're going to have the same group of players and coaches next year, so stay hungry, stay fired up, and we'll see everyone in a few months. 

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5 hours ago, jiggins7919 said:

Did you see the Panthers game last night? They freaking ran almost the EXACT same play as those two Landry misdirection runs, only a week after playing us. They always say the NFL is a copycat league, and it's true. Guess what? The play worked beautifully, lol. Only problem is that the receiver didn't tuck the ball and he had a HUGE fumble after running 20 yards. What a killer. 

I honestly don't see how you can fire Gregg Williams and Freddie Kitchens. It really doesn't seem like a possibility. And I'll go one further. I'd actually announce the extension of Williams and Kitchens now. It would galvanize the team and cement the fact that this group of men is trying to make something special, and even if we can't go to the playoffs this year, we're going to have the same group of players and coaches next year, so stay hungry, stay fired up, and we'll see everyone in a few months. 

i mean unless Dorsey all ready had someone in mind when he took over the team I do not see any reason why they would disturb the chemistry of the team and if so who we gonna get another retread ?

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14 hours ago, ATOM said:

according to jay glazer The Browns have allready locked up Kitchens as are o.c

I've been reading over the last few days, that several unnamed NFL teams have expressed an interest in Kitchens.

I'm sure that, combined with Baker thriving in Freddy's system prompted the signing. 

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that article from glazer....ugh

i guess first point is kitchens wasn't signed to an extension or anything...

second point would be that the OC would likely be hired by the new HC?  i suppose, similar to Hue, that dorsey could force kitchens on a HC...not sure if thats wise or not.    

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2 minutes ago, choco said:

that article from glazer....ugh

i guess first point is kitchens wasn't signed to an extension or anything...

second point would be that the OC would likely be hired by the new HC?  i suppose, similar to Hue, that dorsey could force kitchens on a HC...not sure if thats wise or not.    

Depends entirely on who is the HC choice.   If its a defensive minded head coach, then its possible that you can force the new coach to keep Kitchens.   All depends on who the choice is for the Head Coach though. 

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I never base anything as fact coming out of Glazers mouth... another motor mouth idiot...

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Dorsey said he’d address the HC job after the season is over when they let huego. Since then not a peep out of Berea. They’ve done a pretty amazing job and got a huge mid season U turn on this teams performance and chemistry.  Capt. Dorsey gonna stay the course

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One of the options king did not list is making Kitchens the HC. It's truly the only way to lock him in...

17 hours ago, ATOM said:

according to jay glazer The Browns have allready locked up Kitchens as are o.c

He may be under contract as our OC, but if a team wants to interview him for their HC slot, they can.

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Here’s a little blurb by Albert Breer found in his MMQB article. . .

5. Here’s the value of good scouting, and scouting the person as much as the player. Where the public seems legitimately surprised at how Baker Mayfield has galvanized the Browns, there are plenty of folks in NFL personnel departments who aren’t shocked in the least how this has all played out. In my story about the Jets’ pursuit of Sam Darnold from May, you’ll see the anecdote lining up the grades of Darnold and Mayield. In there, Jets player personnel executive Zach Truty, who was responsible for grading Mayfield, gave the Heisman Trophy winner execeeding rare perfect scores of “9” as a teammate, leader and worker. All of which, safe to say, is showing up in Cleveland.

https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/12/17/colts-players-only-meeting-ty-hilton-nfl-news-notes

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On 12/17/2018 at 2:43 PM, crstphr2 said:

Hire Arians and Kitchens will most likely stay.

 

I just wonder would Dorsey even consider Arians. He's been campaigning for the job hard but media seem to think McCarthy got the job because of his ties from FO. I hate the idea of Baker already having to learn a 2nd offense in his 2nd year when he is playing well in the 1st one but I guess if Goff can do it, Baker can too.

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On 12/17/2018 at 9:59 PM, ATOM said:

according to jay glazer The Browns have allready locked up Kitchens as are o.c

I seen that. That hurts the HC candidate pool unless they already know a guy who will take the job and doesn't have an issue with it. I remember WAS did that with Zorn and it didn't work out well.

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On 12/18/2018 at 9:19 AM, Canton Dawg said:

I've been reading over the last few days, that several unnamed NFL teams have expressed an interest in Kitchens.

I'm sure that, combined with Baker thriving in Freddy's system prompted the signing. 

also name him asst. head coach 

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5 hours ago, Realplayer said:

I hate the idea of Baker already having to learn a 2nd offense in his 2nd year when he is playing well in the 1st one but I guess if Goff can do it, Baker can too.

Difference being that Goff was not doing well in the first scheme and Baker is excelling in his.

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Here's Baker's response to the game being sold out. 

"I just found out this Sunday's game is sold out," Mayfield said. "I appreciate you guys. I know I called you out. I thank you guys for buying all the tickets, being there for the support, I appreciate it a lot. I'm so excited to see you on Sunday. But it's not just about being there, you've got to be loud too. We want the energy there, we want it to be very exciting for the last home game, finishing off the season on the right note. And I appreciate you guys, thank you very much."

I love this guy, and I love the color rush jerseys. I know our players do too. 

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11 minutes ago, jiggins7919 said:

Here's Baker's response to the game being sold out. 

"I just found out this Sunday's game is sold out," Mayfield said. "I appreciate you guys. I know I called you out. I thank you guys for buying all the tickets, being there for the support, I appreciate it a lot. I'm so excited to see you on Sunday. But it's not just about being there, you've got to be loud too. We want the energy there, we want it to be very exciting for the last home game, finishing off the season on the right note. And I appreciate you guys, thank you very much."

I love this guy, and I love the color rush jerseys. I know our players do too. 

HA HA I Bet The Entire Team Wakes Up Feeling DANGEROUS 

GO BROWNS & I am looking forward to watching a sold out stadium 

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just watched freddie interview at cleveland .com wow it's impossible not to come away impressed and wonder if he should be named head coach

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27 minutes ago, ATOM said:

HA HA I Bet The Entire Team Wakes Up Feeling DANGEROUS 

GO BROWNS & I am looking forward to watching a sold out stadium 

No kidding. It's gonna be cranked UP. It's funny, so many times it feels like we're almost WAITING for the season to end (same with players), and now you get the sense our guys don't want it to be over. 

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7 minutes ago, jiggins7919 said:

No kidding. It's gonna be cranked UP. It's funny, so many times it feels like we're almost WAITING for the season to end (same with players), and now you get the sense our guys don't want it to be over. 

makes me wonder how many showed up last year for are last home game

I allways blessed them for being there 

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2 hours ago, jiggins7919 said:

Here's Baker's response to the game being sold out. 

"I just found out this Sunday's game is sold out," Mayfield said. "I appreciate you guys. I know I called you out. I thank you guys for buying all the tickets, being there for the support, I appreciate it a lot. I'm so excited to see you on Sunday. But it's not just about being there, you've got to be loud too. We want the energy there, we want it to be very exciting for the last home game, finishing off the season on the right note. And I appreciate you guys, thank you very much."

I love this guy, and I love the color rush jerseys. I know our players do too. 

I believe it was sold out or close to it last game as well, people just didnt show up. I was pretty surprised by the amount of empty seats based on the way the teams been playing. 

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