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NY Giants’ shakeup on offense under Freddie Kitchens may not be as major as it seems


EAST RUTHERFORD — Freddie Kitchens got his first opportunity to speak in the offensive coordinator’s Thursday time slot at Giants practice.

To be clear, his job title remains Senior Offensive Assistant, although he has taken over the play-calling since the departure of Jason Garrett.

Statistics aside, the transition seems to have gone smoothly. Kitchens certainly has a way of taking things in stride.

While answering one question at the podium, he accidentally knocked a voice recorder to the floor, and before he could determine whose it was, he said, “I am so sorry, I’ll buy you one for Christmas.”

After the owner confirmed it was still recording, Kitchens did a “check 1-2” into the mic, placed the recorder back on the podium and finished giving his answer.

New York Giants offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens in the first half. The Giants defeat the Eagles, 13-7, at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in East Rutherford.

New York Giants offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens in the first half. The Giants defeat the Eagles, 13-7, at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in East Rutherford.

Again, the week-to-week numbers indicate a marginal improvement. In Garrett’s last game against defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay, the Giants scored 10 points and totaled 215 yards (66 rushing, 149 passing).

In Kitchens’ debut Sunday against the Eagles, the Giants scored 13 points with 264 yards of offense (70 rushing, 194 passing).

The major difference is that the Giants’ opportunistic defense was able to preserve a 13-7 win over Philadelphia, whose offense can scarcely be confused with that of the Buccaneers.

Nonetheless, Kitchens appears to be adaptable, and the buzz around the building was that the shakeup may not be as major as it seems from the outside.

“The terminology stayed the same,” Kitchens said. “Everything – our approach, from the standpoint of how we call things, stayed the same. It’s all about familiarity with the players and what they’re used to at this point.”

“Like I said after the [Eagles] game, you really only can change so much [in] Week 12 or Week 13 of the season,” running back Saquon Barkley said. “Obviously, we had a [few] different wrinkles, as you could see in the game. But as the season goes on, and all of the guys get together, probably a few more wrinkles are going to come in.”

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

Barkley – and basically everyone who spoke on the subject Thursday – stayed on message with what head coach Joe Judge said last week, that the game plan is a collaborative effort.

“Every staff that I’ve been on has always been a collaborative effort,” said Kitchens, a former offensive coordinator and head coach in Cleveland. “And if it’s not, something’s wrong in that area.”

The one tangible change is that Kitchens favors the use of quarterback wristbands, which he said, “has to do with smoothing out the communication process.” Another step he has taken is to reach out to players for input on the offensive game plan – “why would you call something if a player’s not comfortable running it?” he said.

Kitchens diplomatically shied away from entertaining comparisons with his predecessor. Quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski did the same thing, qualifying that his comments on the new play-calling arrangement were in no way meant to imply anything about the old arrangement.

Schuplinski did, however, point out some of the unique assets that Kitchens brings to the mix.

“He’s certainly not afraid to take some opportunities, and I think he’s got a little bit of a ‘wing it’ mentality to him at times, which is a good thing,” Schuplinski said. “Sometimes, myself included, you [think] ‘I don’t know if we could do this,’ and he’s a little bit more like, ‘Yeah, we could do that.’ So, everyone’s different. No right or wrong.”

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones warms up before the start of an NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Giants Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones warms up before the start of an NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Giants Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Kitchens was asked whom he expected to have at quarterback this week and said that, with regular starter Daniel Jones practicing on Thursday, “I fully expect to it be just like regular old times.”

Jones (neck) was listed as a limited participant in practice for the second day in a row, although he and receiver David Sills V were the last ones out on the practice field as media availability wrapped up.

Judge spoke with reporters briefly and indicated that he is still waiting on “information I’m given by the medical team” to determine whether he could name Jones or backup Mike Glennon as Sunday’s starter at Miami.

“[Decisions on] some guys go up to game time. Other guys, we can get a final say-so more on a Friday or Saturday morning,” said Judge, adding that “I would have no problem” making a game-time decision with Jones.

Email: tartaglia@northjersey.com

Twitter: @njtags13

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Freddie Kitchens: How much has NY Giants offense changed?




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