Perfect Patriots present daunting task for Freddie Kitchens

Browns head coach: “they have no weaknesses” and present “a tremendous challenge”

Daryl Ruiter
October 23, 2019 - 1:33 pm
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

Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

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Berea, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – The numbers don’t lie.

The New England Patriots are as good, if not better, than their 7-0 record indicates.

Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens has the unenviable task of trying to find a way to beat them, or at least keep the game close, this week.

“They are the class of the NFL and have been for quite some time,” Kitchens said. “We have our work cut out for us. A tremendous challenge.”

Kitchens, a student in his first year as a head coach, squares off against the master in Bill Belichick, who seeks his 300th career victory to become the third coach in NFL history to achieve the mark.

Call it a duel between the master – Bill Belichick – and the student – Kitchens.

“They are what you strive to be in this league is consistent winners, play great complementary football in all three aspects of the game and I have not mentioned anything about the coaching and the coaching speaks for itself,” Kitchens said. “Coach Belichick is a guy I have always admired in the way he conducts business, in the way he conducts his team and the success has followed.”

The Patriots have outscored their opponents by 175 points, and they've outscored them 70-7 in the first quarter alone.

With 2 shutouts already, their defense is as dominating as ever holding opponents under 200 yards 3 times and out of the end zone 4 times this season.

They’ve forced a league-high 22 turnovers – 18 of those are interceptions and they've had at least 1 in every game. Side note, Baker Mayfield's 11 interceptions leads the NFL this season.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Patriots are also the first team since 1934 (Bears and Lions) to start 7-0 while holding their opponents to under 50 points combined. They’ve surrendered just 48.

Good luck, Browns.

“The numbers are one thing, but when you put the tape on and you see how they are getting pressure, you see how they are getting sacks and you see how they are getting interceptions, all that kind of correlates,” Kitchens said. “There is no weaknesses on that side of the ball. Offensively, they have several guys that can make the plays, and of course, you are dealing with probably the best quarterback of all time. That is before you ever get to the coaching – the best coaching in the National Football League history probably.”

Kitchens was effusive in his praise for Bill Belichick’s 2019 team, and rightfully so, Wednesday morning.

“That is what you strive to do is be what they are on every level,” Kitchens said. “I do not see many weaknesses anywhere there, probably in the whole state of Massachusetts.”

New England leads the NFL in multiple defensive categories – yards allowed per game (223.1), yards per play (4.0), Passing net yards per play (4.3), interceptions (18), pass break ups (50), quarterback hits (50), third down efficiency (14.3%), points allowed (6.9), possessions allowed inside the 20 (6), red zone TD percentage (16.7) and red zone scoring allowed (33.3%).

The numbers are just staggering, and Kitchens won’t argue.

“To me, they are more than staggering,” Kitchens said. “This is a record-breaking pace that they are on and a pace that I do not know will ever be matched. Listen, they are tremendous in all areas.” 

Like Kitchens, Belichick is a branch off the Bill Parcells coaching tree. Kitchens has ramped up Parcells’ ‘Do your job’ mantra that Belichick instilled in New England in recent weeks as penalties and mental mistakes popped up and caused them to start the season 2-4.

“I learned it from coach Parcels, yes – the statement – but really if you simplify things, everybody has a job. If they do their job, your chances of success increases,” Kitchens said. “It does not guarantee anything – you still have to play well – but you need to do your job. I know Coach Belichick was with Coach Parcels. I do not really know where it came from initially, but I know that is where I got it from.”

Applying attention to detail and doing your job this week will be critical for the Browns if they’re to have any chance of pulling off the upset of the season.

The Patriots have mastered it while the Browns appear to be at the elementary level.

“I think they do their job. I think everybody does their job. I think everybody takes pride in the fact that they do their job and they can trust each other to do their job,” Kitchens said. “I think once you get to that point, of course, your success goes up because your reliability goes up, your dependability goes up and your accountability goes up. It all works hand in hand, and they are one of the best or the best.”