Freddie Kitchens admits there is some ‘irony’ with Browns matchup

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Freddie Kitchens calling plays for the first time since he was fired against the team that gave him his first opportunity as an offensive coordinator and then gave him the boot as a head coach is …

“Kind of ironic,” Kitchens said.

That’s as far as Kitchens would go.

Kitchens would have been a central storyline in “Sunday Night Football” even if he was just in his regular role as Giants tight ends coach, where he resurfaced after the Browns fired him following last season. But now Kitchens will be the fill-in offensive coordinator – a much more prominent opportunity to exact revenge – because Jason Garrett will miss the game due to a positive COVID-19 test.

“It truly is just the next game,” Kitchens said. “We’ve prepared for this throughout the year. It just so happens we had a guy go down this week.”

Garrett is still involved in staff meetings through Zoom but Kitchens led the offense at Friday’s practice. Longtime Giants assistant coach Bobby Blick will take over some responsibilities with the tight ends from Kitchens.

“Nothing is changing with our offense,” Kitchens said. “Our offense is our offense, and we’re just going to try to execute on a consistent basis.”

Kitchens declined earlier this week to discuss his firing, taking a high road by expressing happiness for the diehard fans of the Browns that the team is on pace for its best season in more than 25 years. 

How will his familiarity with the Browns personnel on both sides of the ball – and their familiarity with his play-calling – impact the game? Kitchens became the Browns offensive coordinator in October 2018 and the eight-game results for Baker Mayfield and the rest of the unit were explosive, which led to his promotion to lead the team. 

The Browns went 6-10 and replaced Kitchens with Kevin Stefanski. 

“There are no two teams the same,” Kitchens said. “There are a lot of guys that were there when I was there, but there is also a significant number that weren’t. I don’t know that you gain a tremendous advantage with that.”

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