Up The Gut Week 4: Kitchens Not Ready To Be Head Coach

In his latest column, Shaun Morash explains why Freddie Kitchens is in over his head – and why Gardner Minshew's "15 minutes of fame" need to end

The DA Show
September 27, 2019 - 10:40 am
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By Shaun Morash

Cold Open

It is getting hot in the Kitchens for Cleveland, and it really should come as no surprise. Running draws on 4th-and-9 when you traded for Odell Beckham Jr. Running four plays in the red zone with the game on the line and not running once, nor targeting Odell Beckham Jr. once. Freddy Kitchens was essentially an offensive coordinator for a half a season in Cleveland, and just like that he was given a head-coaching job he is not ready for.

While everyone glossed the Browns and kissed their ass for every offseason move, we all continued to ignore the elephant in the room: they hired a head coach that was in no way qualified to continue to call offensive plays and be able to manage egos in a room if the going gets tough. Now the Browns play the Ravens; if they go to 1-3 in September, does anyone believe some of those players won't start to grow frustrated and question internally if he is the man for the job? The one thing he was hired to do was to keep his progress and growth with Baker Mayfield. Baker Mayfield has two touchdowns this year, the Giants just started a rookie who doubled that in one game – the same rookie Baker Mayfield laughed at when he was drafted. Baker Mayfield is being outplayed by Gardner Minshew, who also stinks by the way. 

The Cleveland Browns are in trouble. They can play all the primetime games they want, have Odell Beckham Jr wear all the watches he wants, but this season is trending toward every season we can remember over the last 20 years in Cleveland: Misery. They can thank the hire of Freddie Kitchens for that. 

Ten Yard Gain

1-Daniel Jones, Danny Dimes, Danny wins. The Giants needed a moment. Off to yet another 0-2 start, they were dangerously trending toward an uninteresting season in New York, a sports town ready to turn its eyes to the Yankees for the next month. However, Jones has given new life to this franchise in just one game. The record at the end of 2019 truly won't matter, but the energy and excitement around his growth as a quarterback was already on display, and that change of culture could accelerate this Giants rebuild as they will have a ton of cap space, and now – just maybe – a quarterback free agents see as a potential star in the making that they would want to come play with. 

2-The Steelers are continuing to act as if they are true contenders as they now have two in-season trades and zero in-season wins. At 0-3, they probably would be finished in almost any other division in football, but the AFC North is competitive internally, just not very good. The Ravens have two big wins versus the worst teams in football, and now one loss to what may be the best team in football. The jury is out on them. The Browns? Bleh. The Bengals? Bad. The Steelers? Probably bad, but don't tell the front office and Mike Tomlin that. 

3-Melvin Gordon is ready to blink, and the Chargers better hope he is ready to go. Keenan Allen has been the only true playmaker for the Chargers in their disappointing start to the season. Their season is on the line as they travel to play the Dolphins, who could not beat Don Bosco Prep this weekend. After this week, they need Gordon. The division is likely already over before October for them leaving them needing to go 9-3 after this week just to have any hope at a Wild Card in the AFC. They cannot do that without Melvin Gordon. 

4-Josh Rosen actually gave the Dolphins life. This is a part of the Dolphins story you won't see much of this week, but it is true. His offensive line is atrocious, his receivers may be even worse. Yet on the road in Dallas, he was leading Miami on a drive right before halftime, in the red zone, where a touchdown would have given the Fins a stunning halftime lead. Kenyan Drake instead coughed up the ball, and the life around that team was sucked out. Rosen, though, was not at fault. In fact, he played well. He deserves to be a starter in this league, but Miami is likely too caught up in their own tank job to realize they don't need a franchise quarterback – if they know how to develop the one they already have.

5-The Panthers are confident in Kyle Allen, and at least for a week showed why they should be. However, it was still versus the Cardinals so let's ease up on wondering if Cam Newton may be on his way out of Carolina after this season. After last week where the Panthers played games with the media on Cam Newton potentially being ready, they wasted no time ruling Newton out for this week. Which was easy to do following Kyle Allen's performance. Is Allen the next Tony Romo in terms of a developed quarterback that comes out of nowhere? Maybe. Or maybe he is just another in a long list of career backups who had a career game early before anyone had tape on him.

6-Bill Belichick embarrassed himself yet again on Sunday in his interview with Dana Jacobson. Did he have to tell the world what was the last straw with Antonio Brown? No, although it would have been nice. However, the stare-down at a reporter asking a question that needed to be ask is disgraceful. He took a chance on a troubled head case that backfired. That isn't Dana's fault.

7-Does Jay Gruden actually think Case Keenum can buy him enough wins to save his job? This is the logic I have heard from talking heads as to why Dwayne Haskins has not yet started. Yet, if Haskins starts under any realistic circumstance that should be what buys Gruden time, as he can point to development. The season is lost for Washington. If Haskins is truly not ready and they do not want to play him behind this offensive line, then maybe they weren't ready at all to even draft a rookie developmental quarterback in the first round. They should have tried to fix the offensive line and got involved in the 2020 class. They did not do that, so play Haskins and stop pretending they are a magic playoff team with Keenum. Give the fans in Washington that have checked out something to get excited about. 

8-The Packers offensive struggles continue to be hidden by team victories – which, by the way, should be applauded. No longer is Green Bay all about Aaron Rodgers pulling a rabbit out of his hat every week. Though let us all call it as we should be seeing it. Rodgers has looked like a game manager through three weeks. Don't make the mistake, do just enough to allow the defense and Aaron Jones on the run game to grind out wins. I believe the Packers offense will come together and Rodgers will once again be lighting up score boards, but a couple more weeks of this will make even me start to question what I am seeing.

9-The undefeated Detroit Lions. Have those words ever been written? Three weeks in, and two very tough games on the schedule in a row down and Detroit has yet to have a blemish. Matt Stafford is not making costly mistakes, Kerryon Johnson has done enough on the ground, and the Lions defense is a damn force. Matt Patricia has 13 more weeks to keep this growth going and show he isn't like the other failures on the Bill Belichick coaching tree, and he just may be the perfect fit for the city of Detroit. 

10-This is an unpopular take so I have saved it for the 10 yard on the marker in this column: Gardner Minshew's act is so not funny. He has a wacky mustache, he dresses like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite, and he plays the quarterback position at a very below average ability that everyone thinks isn't the case because of his image. He may be a great guy, but I personally am so ready for his 15 minutes of fame to end. 

Five Games To Chew On

5 Browns @ Ravens: A big AFC North game for these two rivals as a win for Cleveland can begin to calm fears, all while pulling the division back tight. A win by the Ravens, however, and they begin to put a two-, and in some cases, three- game lead between them and the competition with already 25 percent of the season done. There has to be some motivation for both quarterbacks in this game – both a part of the same draft class and now division – to out-duel the other. I question the Browns defense to figure out Lamar Jackson in this spot, but if the Browns ever use Odell Beckham Jr the right way, just maybe they break the game open.

4 Vikings @ Bears: The Bears offense finally got going on Monday Night Football, and now they await Kirk Cousin in their building. Cousins needs a turnover-free game versus this defense for everyone in the Twin Cities' confidence, and frankly for his own. The Packers and Lions both enter this week undefeated, this division can get away from the loser of this game fast if they aren't careful. Expect two tight quarterbacks, and the loser of this game will likely thank their man under center for a costly mistake as to why they lost.

3 Patriots @ Bills: The city of Buffalo and the area around New Era Field should be buzzing. Body slams through flaming tables, crushed beer cans, they are undefeated after all and playing for sole possession of the AFC East versus the Patriots. Buffalo has taken advantage of potentially three of the worst six teams in the NFL this year in their first three wins. But, when they have had their rare competitive seasons in the past decade, they seem to always play the Patriots tough in their own building in those seasons. This may be the loudest building pregame of any NFL stadium this weekend. 

2 Chiefs @ Lions: This game will be the first time Patrick Mahomes has ever played in a dome. That's right, the quarterback who is a walking video game has never played in a game where elements will not be a factor. Facing him, though, is a Lions front seven that may be playing as good as any other in football. This is a true measuring stick for the Lions. They did beat the Patriots in this sort of spot a year ago at home and are a better team today than they were a year ago. For the Chiefs, however, this may be time to prove there is an unfinished mission from a year ago, and no good team will stand in their way.

1 Cowboys @ Saints: ​Credit to Teddy Bridgewater. While he didn't light the Seahawks on fire last week, he was still more than a game manager and led many to believe and reason that the Saints may not miss a beat without Drew Brees. For Dallas, this is an enormous spot. Their offense is humming, and while the Rams and Saints have stood tall, it is Dallas who has looked like the most impressive team in the NFC. I am hoping and expecting a tight fourth quarter, and for Teddy Bridgewater, in prime-time vs America's Team there may be no bigger stage to show the world he is worthy of a full time starting job again in this league.

My Picks

Another 2-1 week, that should have been 3-0 had the Chiefs not taken their foot off the gas, has me at a comfortable 6-3 on the season. For this week:

Panthers +4.5 @ Texans: Right off the bat, this is more of an anti-Texans pick, than it is a believer in Kyle Allen pick. The Texans beat the struggling Chargers last week on the road, and that was a big win, but they did it ugly with some head-scratching Deshaun Watson mistakes. If Houston is going to be a playoff team this year, it is going to be because they accumulate enough close wins, they haven't proven they are good enough to blow teams out. In comes Carolina, with some life in Kyle Allen after last week. The Texans should win this game, but it will only be by a 24-20, 23-21 type margin. I would not bet Panthers ML here as you can be burned, but the points should be enough to entice you. 

Browns +7 @ Ravens: ​I just spent a bulk of my column shredding the Browns, so in typical hypocrite fashion here I am betting them. Frankly, I think the Ravens are good; they were my preseason NFC North pick, and I think Lamar Jackson wants to prove something to Baker Mayfield Sunday. However, the Browns still have talent. Am I to believe a team where its head coach has been railed on for his lack of use of Odell Beckham Jr won't now try and find a way to get him the ball? This should be a very close game, and frankly the big number scares me as maybe I am getting suckered in by Vegas to bet the Browns, and I am in hook, line, and sinker. 

Rams -9.5 vs Bucs: ​The Bucs got served what I like to call a "Season-Ender" on Sunday. To have their much-maligned quarterback play his best game in quite some time, only to blow an 18-point halftime lead and then miss a chip shot field goal at home is devastating. Those players will have been thinking about that loss all week. Now their next game comes traveling all the way to the West Coast to play the defending NFC Champs. Aaron Donald will wreck this game and force some Jameis Winston mistakes. This will be the most convincing Rams victory of the season to date. 

Football Food Of The Week

Now that these are being graded by the Instagram account @up_the_gut, I must admit I am slightly shook. I don't know what more I can do to get an "A." So I have just decided to please myself, and only hope you all enjoy it, too.

Philly Cheese Steak Dip. ​If this isn't creative, then I give up. We are all well aware of the Buffalo Chicken Craze in this century. Nobody saw it coming, but now it is a staple. Why doesn't the Cheese Steak get as much love as Buffalo Chicken in the food circles? So let's get nuts. Take a foil tray, round or long depending on the amount of dip you will need, and the amount of people you will be feeding. Obviously adjust the ingredients based on size.

Take cream cheese and soften it. Spoon it and smooth it on the bottom of the tray throughout as a bottom layer. 

Buy thin steaks and slice them and/or chop them into very small pieces, then also chop up a white onion into very small, fine pieces.

On a frying pan, spray oil and cook the onions and steak until done, mixing both together as they cook on the pan. 

Take that now-cooked blend and distribute it evenly on top of the layer of cream cheese. Now, to top that off, take Cheez-Wiz, in classic Philadelphia fashion, and smooth it evenly on top of the steak as they top layer. Bake this three-layer dip in an oven for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

I would serve this with tortilla chips, but small pieces of bread – like you would with a spinach and artichoke dip – would work as well.

Thanks for reading. As always you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MrazCBS.