EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – New York Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Sunday night’s game against Cleveland Browns.
Tight-ends coach Freddie Kitchens will be taking on play-calling duties against his former team less than a calendar year after the Browns fired him.
The Giants canceled training on Thursday “out of great caution”. They work with the league’s chief medical officer to determine next steps. From Thursday morning there appeared to be no close contacts.
The coaches and players of the Giants did not meet in person on Monday or Tuesday. They worked remotely according to the guidelines of the competition. The Giants trained in person on Wednesday.
Garrett was hired in the past off-season to lead the Giants’ attack after nine seasons as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. But it’s been a struggle, especially without star Saquon Barkley running back. Only the New York Jets have scored fewer points this season than the Giants, who are a game behind first place in the NFC East that will enter week 15.
The Giants (5-8) are also unsure whether starting quarterback Daniel Jones will be healthy enough to start against Browns. Coach Joe Judge said on Wednesday it was too early to make a decision in any way.
Kitchens, who has experience calling plays, will team up with Jones or Colt McCoy, another former Brown. He has mainly spent this season guiding the Giants’ tight ends, but Judge noted earlier this week that this had “been a great help throughout the season in helping with game planning and scouting reports.”
Garrett will continue to work remotely this season.
Kitchens’ success with the Browns late in the 2018 season earned him a promotion to head coach last year. Cleveland finished 13th in all-out attack during Baker Mayfield’s rookie season. He threw 19 of his rookie-record 27 touchdown passes in the last eight games under Kitchens when the Browns went 5-3.
But Cleveland fired kitchens after a rocky 2019 season that saw Mayfield back down and threw 21 interceptions.
Judge worked hard to get kitchens to his staff. The two have ties from their time together in the state of Mississippi and Alabama, and Judge considers the former head coach a trusted confidant.
Now Sunday has turned into Freddie Kitchens’ ultimate revenge game with a chance to call plays again against the team that fired him after a difficult season as head coach. The Browns (9-4) have a strong first year under new coach Kevin Stefanski, something Kitchens has noticed from a distance.
“I couldn’t be happier for the Cleveland fans,” he said earlier this week. “They’ve waited a long time for something like that to go to the games and cheer for. But no two teams are the same. We say that every year.”