New York Giants: Kenny Golladay lists one advantage of Freddie Kitchens over Jason Garrett

new york giants, kenny golladay

The New York Giants haven’t been able to change their offense significantly since firing Jason Garrett. It’s just too late in the season to make a move like that, and the Giants are for the most part stuck with the same basic system until the offseason. With that being said, there’s still some advantages from making a change during the season at offensive coordinator.

While you aren’t going to see many NFL players publicly throw their coaches under the bus, you might get the idea from certain players’ statements that Garrett wasn’t the most popular coordinator. Not just because of the offense’s slow performance during his entire tenure, but because of a rigid system that didn’t seem to take much player input.

According to wide receiver Kenny Golladay, that’s a bit different under Freddie Kitchens.

Giants offense involving players more under Kitchens

“It’s huge. You can come over to the sideline and actually, since you’re the one out there running, you can actually tell them what you’re seeing,” Golladay said on Thursday, when asked about Kitchens taking more input. “It’s one thing running it on the field and a coach standing on the sideline trying to get all the way on the other side of the field. Just going in there and giving them
good information, and not giving them selfish information.”

Unfortunately, the change at offensive coordinator was made too late for the Giants to change things up significantly. They’re still running with the same playbook, the same terminology, and so on, as confirmed by coaches and players. But less rigid playcalling and more creativity may bring benefits through the rest of the season, even if the core of the offense remains the same.

Golladay has 372 yards and no touchdowns this season. It’s not the season that was expected from him after the Giants signed him to a big deal to become their number one weapon. While some of that is on Golladay, some of it also rests on Jason Garrett’s shoulders. The offensive coordinator is, after all, responsible for making use of the talent on hand.

It’s unclear how the rest of the season will go for Golladay. But from the looks of things, the receiver is more than a little satisfied with the decision to move on at OC.

New York Giants: Daniel Jones still playing conservative despite OC change

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants earned a clutch victory over the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend. The Giants improved to a 4-7 record with the 13-7 win at home against their division rivals. This was the Giants’ first game of the season without Jason Garrett, as they fired the offensive coordinator earlier that week. Freddie Kitchens assumed play-calling duties for the Giants, calling a winning game with Daniel Jones under center.

New York has been extremely conservative on offense this season. The expectation was that Freddie Kitchens would push the Giants’ offense downfield with more vertical passing concepts. However, that expectation did not become reality on Sunday, despite the Giants’ win.

Daniel Jones conservative on Sunday

Sunday’s victory against Philadelphia was huge. This big win kept the Giants in the playoff race. But it was not the offense that propelled the Giants to victory. No, there were no explosive, downfield passing plays that gave the Giants a competitive advantage. It was very much the defense that propelled New York to victory.

Daniel Jones has not thrown the ball downfield much this season. Entering this week’s game, Daniel Jones had attempted 331 passes so far this season. Only 23 of those passes had traveled 20+ yards downfield. That is only 6.9% of Jones’s attempts, ranking 36th in the NFL. Comparatively, 13% of Jones’s passes had been thrown targeted behind the line of scrimmage. The Giants are throwing the ball backwards more often than they are throwing the ball deep.

That trend continued this weekend. Daniel Jones attempted 30 passes against the Eagles on Sunday. Only 1 of those passes traveled 20+ yards downfield. Six of his attempts (20%) were thrown behind the lines of scrimmage.

So, despite the change at offensive coordinator, the Giants are still dealing with the same struggles. They scored only 13 points on Sunday and almost never threw the ball downfield. As great as New York’s defense is, it will never be enough to take them deep in the playoff without getting some help from the team’s offense. The New York Giants need to start getting more aggressive on offense.

Freddie Kitchens should make the New York Giants offense more vertical

New York Giants, Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

The New York Giants have struggled to push the ball downfield this season. After twenty-six games with the team, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has finally been fired. The Giants made that decision yesterday after a disappointing 30-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night.

Daniel Jones has been throwing the ball deep at the lowest rate in the NFL this season. This is similar to last season. It was clearly time for the Giants to make a change, and make a change they have. Freddie Kitchens will take over as the Giants’ interim play-caller/offensive coordinator for the remainder of the season. This change should make the Giants’ offense far more vertical in its passing attack.

The vertical offense of Freddie Kitchens

Daniel Jones has attempted 331 passes so far this season. Only 23 of those passes have traveled 20+ yards downfield. That is only 6.9% of Jones’s attempts, ranking 36th in the NFL. Yes, 35 quarterbacks in the NFL are throwing deep passes at a higher rate than New York Giants starting quarterback Daniel Jones. Comparatively, 13% of Jones’s passes have been thrown targeted behind the line of scrimmage. The Giants are throwing the ball backwards more often than they are throwing the ball deep.

Quarterbacks in Freddie Kitchens’s offense tend to have a high average depth of target. Under Todd Haley in 2018, Baker Mayfield’s ADOT was just 6.8 but shot up to 9.1 once Freddie Kitchens took over. According to PFF, Mayfield’s ADOT under Kitchens in 2018 was 9.6 yards, a very deep average. Kitchens again had him over 9 yards in 2019, averaging 9.2 yards ADOT.

Compare this to Daniel Jones’s first two seasons in the NFL. Under Shurmur in 2018, Jones’s ADOT was 8.4 yards. Garrett’s notoriously non-vertical offense in 2018 brought Daniel Jones’s ADOT down to 8.0 yards. Daniel Jones’s ADOT so far this season is down to 7.5 yards. One must assume that Freddie Kitchens will implement more vertical passing concepts and try to raise Daniel Jones’s ADOT for the rest of the 2021 season.

Baker Mayfield threw 72 total 20+ yard passes in 2018 and 76 attempts in 2019. Kitchens had him airing the ball deep frequently. Daniel Jones threw 54 deep passes under Shurmur in 2018, playing in only 12 games. In 14 games under Garrett in 2020, Jones threw far fewer deep balls, only 43 total. This is obviously a problem, especially when considering Daniel Jones had a 132.5 passer rating on 20+ yard throws last season, the highest in the NFL. Hopefully the promotion of Freddie Kitchens will lead to more deep passes from Daniel Jones and the New York Giants offense.

New York Giants: Joe Judge cagey about Sunday’s playcalling plans

new york giants, joe judge

The New York Giants have fired OC Jason Garrett, and we don’t know yet who will call the offensive plays for the rest of the season. The initial speculation was that the job was going to move directly to former Browns head coach and current Giants assistant Freddie Kitchens, an obvious path due to Kitchens’ extensive experience working with offenses. But Joe Judge shot down that idea when he told the media that the matter is undecided.

“We’ll talk through it as the week goes,” Judge told reporters when asked if he knew who would call plays on Sunday. “We’ll work through it collectively as an offense and build into Sunday when it comes.”

Judge did go on to say that he has an idea of who might call the plays in the next game. However, he declined to share that name with the press.

“We’ve got a lot of things that may be a little bit up our sleeve. Any competitive advantage you want to have you want to keep to yourselves.”

Who will call plays for the New York Giants?

There is, of course, a chance that Kitchens is definitely going to take over the job and the Giants are just moving slowly to admit it. The Eagles not knowing the offensive coordinator, after all, could present an advantage. There’s no candidate that stands out in particular to call plays other than Kitchens, and Judge confirmed the Giants aren’t bringing in another coach to take over for Garrett for the rest of the season.

If we want to know for certain what kind of scheme the Giants will run on offense, we’ll just have to wait until closer to the game and see who ends up handling it.

One thing is for sure, though: whoever does call the plays can probably get better performance from the talent than Garrett could.

Just don’t expect too many big changes to come during this next game or the rest of the season. Even though a new offensive playcaller will have a different angle of looking at things compared to Garrett, there’s still no time this season to add an entirely new scheme and whoever take over for Garrett has to work around that fact.

New York Giants: Evan Engram speaks on Freddie Kitchens’ influence

New York Giants, Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

When the New York Giants announced joint practices with the Cleveland Browns, many noted the connection between head coaches Joe Judge and Kevin Stefanski. However, not as many noted the connection between the Browns and another member of the Giants coaching staff.

Freddie Kitchens was the head coach in Cleveland before coming to the Giants as a tight ends coach, a role which has been increased to senior offensive assistant for this season.

His return to Cleveland brought some praise from his former players despite things not working out when he was the head coach.

“Freddie, that’s my guy. He was my first NFL running backs coach of my career,” Cleveland running back Nick Chubb told reporters on Thursday.

But it’s not just some of Kitchens’ former players with the Browns who appreciate the coach. Kitchens will likely play a larger role in planning the Giants offense this season as a higher ranking staff member than last year, and Giants tight end Evan Engram already took note of his expanded role and impact.

In his position now, he’s able to work with the line and then kind of work with us and kind of oversee the offense. His input on a lot of stuff helps us and he’s been around ball a long time. He’s been in every position room, so he knows a lot. Last year it was good working with him. For him to have a little bit more freedom this year around the offense is a big help for us,” Engram said Thursday.

Evaluating Kitchens’ impact on the coaching staff

The decision to promote Kitchens to senior offensive assistant is widely seen as a response to Jason Garrett’s offensive struggles in his first season. The Giants didn’t have a very good offense under Garrett, but with a full offseason to make changes, one of the minimum expectations is that the Giants try different things in offensive schemes and playcalling this year.

Kitchens has coached running backs, tight ends, and quarterbacks during his career at both the college and pro level. Before his stint as a head coach, he served as both an assistant head coach and an offensive coordinator in Cleveland. In other words, he brings plenty of experience coaching offense and may be an influence in spicing up a dry offense that led to many struggles for the Giants this year.

The statement from Engram seems to confirm that Kitchens has taken well to a role looking after the entire offense rather than just the tight ends, and with the Giants adding a number of new weapons this offseason and getting back Saquon Barkley, we should expect to see a lot of new offensive looks come September.

New York Giants: Freddie Kitchens’s promotion could lead to a more vertical offense

New York Giants, Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

The 2020 New York Giants offense was pitiful. They averaged a putrid 17.5 points per game, ranked 31st in the NFL. But things might change drastically for the stale dink-and-dunk Giants passing attack in 2021. Joe Judge and the Giants made crucial changes to their coaching staff this offseason to fix their offense, including a key promotion of Freddie Kitchens.

Last offseason, the New York Giants hired Joe Judge as their next head coach. Coach Judge built an impressive staff that included numerous former-head coaches as assistants. In 2019, Freddie Kitchens was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns before being fired and ultimately hired the same offseason by the Giants as a tight ends coach.

Freddie Kitchens’s role has changed this offseason. Kitchens received a promotion from tight ends coach to “senior offensive assistant.” This promotion will give Freddie Kitchens more responsibility with the offensive line’s connection to the scheme and could also give him a greater influence on the offense’s passing attack.

How Freddie Kitchens can influence the Giants’ offense

Working with the offensive line

Head coach Joe Judge said that Freddie Kitchens’s “primary responsibility is going to be working with the front” in his new senior offensive assistant position. Judge explained, “tying into having two young offensive line coaches with Rob and Ben, I think Freddie is going to be an asset up front working directly with them and helping bring together the game planning, like all of our coaches will, but working directly with (offensive coordinator) Jason (Garrett) with some of the things that are going to happen upfront.”

This move could lead to less miscommunication along the offensive line. Kitchens will work to streamline the communication between the offensive line and the offensive coordinator. Freddie Kitchens will work to help the Giants’ young offensive line develop this year, but his influence in the team’s offensive scheme might be even more exciting.

Creating a more vertical passing attack

It is no question that the Giants want to get more vertical on offense in 2021. They added one of the best vertical weapons in the entire NFL this offseason with they signed star wide receiver Kenny Golladay. The Giants also added speedy wide receiver Kadarius Toney in the draft. These two could create an elite vertical receiving duo.

The Giants’ new wide receivers will go as far as the scheme lets them. The biggest criticism of Jason Garrett’s offensive scheme in 2020 was the lack of vertical passing concepts. That is bound to change in 2021 with the new weapons acquired and the promotion of Freddie Kitchens.

Freddie Kitchens’s influence

Quarterbacks in Freddie Kitchens’s offense tend to have a high average depth of target. Under Todd Haley in 2018, Baker Mayfield’s ADOT was just 6.8 but shot up to 9.1 once Freddie Kitchens took over. According to PFF, Mayfield’s ADOT under Kitchens in 2018 was 9.6 yards, a very deep average. Kitchens again had him over 9 yards in 2019, averaging 9.2 yards ADOT.

Compare this to Daniel Jones’s first two seasons in the NFL. Under Shurmur in 2018, Jones’s ADOT was 8.4 yards. Garrett’s notoriously non-vertical offense in 2018 brought Daniel Jones’s ADOT down to 8.0 yards. Now, as a senior offensive assistant, one must assume that Freddie Kitchens will help Jason Garrett implement more vertical passing concepts and try to raise Daniel Jones’s ADOT in 2021.

Baker Mayfield threw 72 total 20+ yard passes in 2018 and 76 attempts in 2019. Kitchens had him airing the ball deep frequently. Daniel Jones threw 54 deep passes under Shurmur in 2018, playing in only 12 games. In 14 games under Garrett in 2020, Jones threw far fewer deep balls, only 43 total. This is obviously a problem, especially when considering Daniel Jones had a 132.5 passer rating on 20+ yard throws last season, the highest in the NFL.

What this means for Daniel Jones and the Giants’ offense

It’s time to see more Danny Dimes. Daniel Jones was, statistically, one of the best deep passers in the NFL last season. NFL’s Next Gen Stats listed Jones as the top-ranked deep passer in 2020. Next Gen Stats notes that Daniel’s CPOE (completion percentage over expected) on deep passes was +14.8%, the highest percentage in the league.

According to Pro Football Focus, Daniel Jones was the third-highest graded quarterback in the NFL on deep passes in 2020. Jones’s 95.6 deep-passing grade ranked behind only Russell Wilson and Derek Carr last season.

As the Giants’ offense moves toward a more vertical passing attack in 2021, this could be huge for Daniel Jones in his make-or-break third season. Daniel Jones is an efficient deep-passing quarterback. He has not thrown the deep ball very often in his first two NFL seasons. But when he has, he has proven to have elite downfield accuracy. Freddie Kitchens will work to increase the volume of deep passes that Daniel Jones throws this season, leading to a more explosive New York Giants offense.

What Freddie Kitchens’s promotion means for the New York Giants’ offense in 2021

New York Giants, Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge made some key changes to his coaching staff this offseason. When Judge was hired in the 2020 offseason, he built a strong coaching staff that featured many former head coaches in assistant coaching roles. One of those former head coaches was Freddie Kitchens, Judge hired him as the tight ends coach.

Freddie Kitchens served as head coach of the Cleveland Browns in the 2019 season. Kitchens took over as the offensive coordinator for Cleveland in the 2018 season after the team fired Todd Haley. Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield saw his game elevate to another level once Kitchens was put in charge. Unfortunately, things did not end well for Kitchens in Cleveland, as the Browns disappointed in 2019 and fired their head coach after one season.

Joe Judge then brought Freddie Kitchens onto his staff as a tight ends coach. But, after just one season, Kitchens’s role with the Giants is changing. Coach Judge gave Kitchens a promotion this offseason to “senior offensive assistant.” This new role will change Freddie Kitchens’s responsibilities with the team completely while also having a significant impact on the Giants’ offense.

How Freddie Kitchens will make the offense more vertical

At the beginning of Freddie Kitchens’s career, he worked under Bruce Arians with the Arizona Cardinals. Kitchens learned a lot from Arians and developed his playbook based on the former Cardinals head coach’s offensive scheme. Like Arians, Kitchens loves to utilize 11 personnel and his offense places a heavy emphasis on vertical passing concepts.

Quarterbacks in Kitchens’s offense tend to have a high average depth of target. Under Todd Haley, Baker Mayfield’s ADOT was just 6.8 but shot up to 9.1 once Freddie Kitchens took over. According to PFF, Mayfield’s ADOT under Kitchens in 2018 was 9.6 yards, a very deep average. Kitchens again had him over 9 yards in 2019, averaging 9.2 yards ADOT.

Compare this to Daniel Jones’s first two seasons in the NFL. Under Shurmur in 2018, Jones’s ADOT was 8.4 yards. Garrett’s notoriously non-vertical offense in 2018 brought Daniel Jones’s ADOT down to 8.0 yards. Now, as a senior offensive assistant, one must assume that Freddie Kitchens will help Jason Garrett implement more vertical passing concepts and try to raise Daniel Jones’s ADOT in 2021.

Baker Mayfield threw 72 total 20+ yard passes in 2018 and 76 attempts in 2019. Kitchens had him airing the ball deep frequently. Daniel Jones threw 54 deep passes under Shurmur in 2018, playing in only 12 games. In 14 games under Garrett in 2020, Jones threw far fewer deep balls, only 43 total. This is obviously a problem, especially when considering Daniel Jones had a 132.5 passer rating on 20+ yard throws last season, the highest in the NFL.

Daniel Jones is an efficient deep-ball passer. Unfortunately, he rarely pushes the ball downfield due to a lack of vertical passing concepts in Jason Garrett’s offensive scheme. Freddie Kitchens should alleviate this issue and help Garrett get the ball downfield more frequently.

How Freddie Kitchens will help the offensive line develop

Head coach Joe Judge said that Kitchens’s “primary responsibility is going to be working with the front” in his new senior offensive assistant position. Judge explained, “tying into having two young offensive line coaches with Rob and Ben, I think Freddie is going to be an asset up front working directly with them and helping bring together the game planning, like all of our coaches will, but working directly with (offensive coordinator) Jason (Garrett) with some of the things that are going to happen upfront.”

New York Giants: Joe Judge quietly promotes Freddie Kitchens to senior assistant

New York Giants, Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

When Freddie Kitchens joined the New York Giants as a tight ends coach, some expected more. Specifically, that the tight ends coaching job might be a stepping stone to a larger role in the organization. With the disappointing year one performance from offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, those talks only intensified. It seems like Kitchens might be a preferred offensive coordinator in the eyes of Joe Judge, after all.

Kitchens hasn’t taken over as a coordinator, but he did move up in the coaching staff to become a senior offensive assistant rather than just the coach of the tight ends.

It appears that fellow assistant Derek Dooley, most notable for being the former head coach of the University of Tennessee, will act as the tight end coach now that Kitchens is moving positions.

As the former head coach of the Browns, tight ends coach looked like a rather low position for Kitchens to settle for. It’s not surprising to see him move up in the ranks and take on a larger role. This also appears to be a move from Joe Judge to shape the offense further and make changes from last season, when the Giants had one of the worst offenses in the league.

While Jason Garrett isn’t getting replaced this season, the presence of Kitchens on the offensive staff might prompt some different offensive decisions that shake things up compared to the stale offense from last year.

All in all, it’s a promotion that’s not entirely unexpected and seems like a win for the Giants on the offensive side of the ball.

New York Giants: OC Jason Garrett expected to return to the Giants

New York Giants, Jason Garrett

New York Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was interviewing for the Los Angeles Chargers head coach vacancy several weeks ago. The Chargers went with Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley over Garrett. The Chargers were the only team that asked to interview Garrett this offseason. Garrett is expected to come back and be the New York Giants offensive coordinator for the second straight year.

Giants’ OC Jason Garrett is expected to return after a shaky season in which the team finished 31st in total offense and points scored, per Jordan Raanan, ESPN Giants beat writer.

Raanan also stated, “although Garrett will stay, there will be some changes to the Giants’ offensive staff, among them the possibility of internal alterations when it comes to the responsibilities of those currently on staff. Increased responsibility for quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski, wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert and tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens is possible.”

If you remember when Garrett got Covid-19 during the season, Kitchens was called upon to call plays for New York against his former team, the Cleveland Browns. Tolbert, meanwhile, is a solid option for some power-sharing, but he’s beginning to draw interest for other roles throughout the league. Currently, the Minnesota Vikings have their eye on him to become their offensive coordinator.

However things ultimately shake out, it would appear as if Garrett will make his way back to East Rutherford next season and resume his role as the team’s offensive coordinator for the 2021 season.

New York Giants: What should we expect from Freddie Kitchens as the offensive play-caller in week 15?

New York Giants, Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

The New York Giants learned that offensive coordinator Jason Garrett tested positive for Covid on Thursday, which will force him out for the game against Cleveland on Sunday evening. In his absence, the Giants have tapped tight end coach Freddie Kitchens to call plays, and this could either be a revelation or a stagnation.

New York Giants official statement:

Giants Statement: Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett has tested positive for COVID-19. He will continue to work remotely. Tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens will serve as the team’s offensive play caller on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

We are currently working with the league’s chief medical officer regarding close contacts. Because of the league’s most updated protocols, Giants coaches and players did not meet on either Monday or Tuesday, and the majority of the coaching staff worked remotely.

At this point, there appear to be no high risk close contacts. We are awaiting confirmation from the league. Out of an abundance of caution, the Giants will meet remotely and will not practice today.
In 2018 when Kitchens took over as the OC in week 8, Baker Mayfield saw his numbers skyrocket for the rest of the year: 70.7 completion % (fifth), 13 touchdowns (seventh), 5 INTs Averaged 8.66 yards per attempt (second only to Patrick Mahomes II), and a 109.3 passer rating (fifth).
The offense Kitchens will deploy will be similar to Garrett’s in terms of route combinations and run blocking, but the way he calls them will be different. Considering the offensive line just allowed eight sacks to the Arizona Cardinals this past weekend, kitchens will look to get the ball out of Colt McCoy or Daniel Jones’ hands quickly, avoiding instantaneous pressure and making easy first reads available.
Kitchens knows what the Cleveland Browns have on defense, especially in their pass rush. The threat they possess will force the Giants to get rid of the ball quickly and opt for running the ball more frequently.
One thing Kitchens did when he took over for the Browns in 2018 was ask his players what plays they liked the most. This allowed him to tailor specific plays to his player’s strengths, which theoretically is an obvious yet genius idea. What we’ve seen from Giants quarterbacks the first 14 weeks of the season is hesitancy in the pocket, not moving on from progressions, and failing to make decisive reads. Kitchens managed to decrease the hits Baker Mayfield took and sacks allowed significantly once he took over two years ago.
However, in 2019, Mayfield did not perform as well as most hoped under Kitchens. His offensive scheme fell apart when Odell Beckham Jr. joined the ranks. It seems as if the Browns experienced a similar reality to the Giants with Pat Shurmur.
Shurmur was a fantastic offensive coordinator but simply couldn’t handle the duties of being a head coach and calling offensive plays. Since Freddie will only be calling the plays on Sunday for the Giants, maybe we will see what he’s really capable of with less pressure on his back.