The Cleveland Browns are doing what they can to keep Freddie Kitchens, as they are not allowing teams to interview the offensive coordinator.
Kitchens is still under contract with the Browns, so the organization has the right to block other organizations from interviewing the 44-year-old coach. Rapoport’s report also says that the Browns want to let their next head coach decide if they want to keep Kitchens on their staff.
Kitchens burst onto the scene when he was promoted from running backs coach to offensive coordinator following the firing of Todd Haley prior to Week 9.
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Kitchens proved to be a creative offensive play-caller, calling trick plays throughout the course of games. He also connected with quarterback Baker Mayfield. By adjusting the offense to Mayfield’s strengths, the rookie quarterback’s play excelled.
In Kitchens’ offense, Mayfield completed 68.4 percent of his passes for 2,254 yards, 19 touchdowns, and eight interceptions in eight games.
Due to his work with Mayfield, Fox Sports insider Jay Glazer reported in December that Kitchens had already locked up the Browns offensive coordinator job for 2019. Although Rapoport did not report that Kitchens is guaranteed the Browns coordinator job next season, it adds validity to Glazer’s report.
The Browns averaged 285.9 passing yards per game and 109.3 rushing yards per game with Kitchens calling plays. The Browns scored an average of 23.6 points per game in that span. The Browns offensive line allowed only five sacks during Kitchens’ time as the offensive coordinator.
Rapoport’s report does call into question if Kitchens is a serious candidate for the Browns head coaching job. General manager John Dorsey said that he will interview Kitchens for the head coaching vacancy, with Rapoport saying that interview will take place next week.
By Rapoport saying that the Browns want to give their new head coach an opportunity to hire Kitchens, it seems that he is not a serious candidate to take over as head coach. The half season Kitchens called plays for the Browns was the only time in his career that he has called plays, so Dorsey may not feel comfortable naming a coach with that little experience as the head coach.
However, it appears the Browns front office understands the importance of keeping Kitchens. Mayfield trusts Kitchens, so it will help the quarterback’s development if they can give him the same coordinator for his second season. Overall, this is a smart move by Dorsey and the Browns front office.