As the losses pile up, the Cleveland Browns are looking for answers to turn things around after a 2-5 start to the season.
Freddie Kitchens hinted in his Monday press conference following a loss to the New England 27-13 loss that more changes would be on the way to the starting units on both sides of the ball, and spoke on one position group in particular.
When asked about wide receiver Antonio Callaway seeing a heavy snap count on offense over Rashard Higgins, Kitchens said Callaway has simply done a better job, establishing himself as the No. 3 wide receiver behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.
“We feel like he’s doing a better job right now,” Kitchens said of Callaway. “Higgins has been back two weeks. Contrary to popular belief, Higgins was not ready to play three weeks ago. Ask Higgins again about two weeks ago, he might have a different answer now.”
Sounds like Kitchens might have had a talk with Higgins, which probably had something to do with these comments he made.
“I just didn’t get in. I don’t know why. I was a little surprised,” Higgins said of being inactive. “I felt like I was ready San Francisco game. Little frustrating. I feel like I’m somebody that Baker can rely on, and when I’m in the game I can make a difference. It’ll show next game.”
Rashard Higgins Relegated to Reserve Role, Limited Snaps
Callaway served a four-game suspension to start the year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The last two weeks, he’s played 47 and 53 snaps. Higgins has expressed that he felt healthy enough to play the last two games. He missed the game against the 49ers and then suited up but didn’t see a snap against the Seahawks. In his return to the field against the Patriots, he saw just 14 snaps.
Higgins shined in the preseason and quarterback Baker Mayfield has openly acknowledged that he has some of his best chemistry with Higgins because of their work with the second team in last season’s training camp and early in the season before he slid into the starting role.
Kitchens’ comments make it seem like there’s more to the situation than he’s letting on, but we’ll see how it progresses going forward.
“I’m not answering questions about playing time,” Kitchens said. “We are playing who we think is giving us the best chance to win right now.”
Rashard Higgins Subject of Trade Rumors
As the trade deadline approaches, Higgins has found himself involved in some trade rumors as the Browns shop furiously for offensive line help.
Here’s what NFL Insider Ian Rapoport had to say about what’s happening with the Browns.
The Browns haven’t been shy about their desire for an offensive tackle, though they’ve been shut down every time they’ve asked about Redskins left tackle Trent Williams. One potential name to watch is Eagles reserve tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, or Big V. Several teams have been keeping an eye on him, so Philly may have a real market. But they could also re-sign him in the offseason or simply keep him for depth, so that factors into the price.
Speaking of the Browns, they could also deal some WR depth, but they’d only trade the back-end guys.
Higgins would make the most sense, with the team already having stuck by Calloway through a suspension and his value as a speedy option in the slot.
The Browns already have dealt Austin Corbett — the No. 33 overall pick in the 2018 draft — to the Rams for a fifth-round pick. Veteran defensive back TJ Carrie is another Cleveland player reportedly being shopped.