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Need to Know: Freddie Kitchens says Browns' 3-man backfield here to stay

Freddie Kitchens tried to warn anyone who would listen the Browns would "get back to the Wishbone" under his leadership as offensive coordinator.

It's exactly what the Browns did a few days after his comments, deploying a three running back package for an entire series in Cleveland's 28-16 win over Falcons. On Friday, Kitchens, showing off his trademark dry humor, deadpanned the Browns would use it for "45-50 plays" Sunday against the Bengals.

In all seriousness, Kitchens likes the package because it allows him to have running backs Duke Johnson, Nick Chubb and Dontrell Hilliard on the field at the same time -- something that had never happened before the Falcons game.

"It is just an opportunity to get some of our good players on the field. They deserve to play, too," Kitchens said. "As long as they are making plays and stuff, we are going to use it."

The Browns unveiled the package early in the second quarter against the Falcons. In six plays, the Browns picked up three first downs. The biggest play was a 17-yard pass to Breshad Perriman. The most electrifying was a late lateral by Johnson to Chubb that turned a 3-yard loss into a 5-yard gain. The drive ended in unfortunate fashion when Hilliard was intercepted on a trick-play pass attempt to quarterback Baker Mayfield, but Kitchens came away encouraged.

"We repped it a couple of times during the course of the week and kind of kept it under wraps for a couple of weeks," Kitchens said. "Felt like it was ready to go so we went with it."

Thanks to a 92-yard Chubb touchdown run, the Browns, who compiled 211 rushing yards against the Falcons, are coming off their best running performance of the season. They'll be looking for the same kind of production -- Wishbone or not -- against the Bengals.

-- Browns coach Gregg Williams said the competition at left tackle remains ongoing and would not name a starter for Sunday's game.

Veteran Greg Robinson has started the past two games. Rookie Desmond Harrison, who was hampered by an illness that led to him being inactive for the previous two games, started the first eight games of the season.

"There is no such thing as starters in this league," Williams said. "Who plays the most is who practices the best and who does the best. You have to go about doing your job every single day. That is how I have always looked at it. The respect on your team and the respect from your locker room is that they see coaches understand that, too."

-- Kitchens lauded the progress of Perriman, who has seen his role in Cleveland's offense expand with each passing week.

Perriman, a former first-round pick who was released before the season by the Ravens, has five catches for 75 yards in four games with the Browns. Four of those receptions, along with two rushes for 9 yards, have come in the two games since Cleveland's shake-up at head coach and offensive coordinator.

Before he arrived in Cleveland, Perriman endured three disappointing and injury-filled years with the Ravens. His best season was in 2016, when he caught 33 passes for 499 yards and three touchdowns.

"Breshad has put in a lot of work after practice, before practice, in the meeting rooms and things like that. He has been a very nice surprise for us since we have had him," Kitchens said. "I do not go off of what he does with everybody else. I just go off of what I see on tape. I learned that a long time ago. You can't really take opinions from other people. You just have to see what they say on tape and then go from there."

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