Cleveland Browns: Hire Freddie Kitchens already
After leading the offense to new heights in 2018, has Freddie Kitchens earned the opportunity to be named head coach of the Cleveland Browns?
Calling Mr. Dorsey: the right man for the job has been right in front of you this whole time. Freddie Kitchens deserves to be named the head coach of the Cleveland Browns; you cannot have a Baker without a Kitchen(s).
Last week, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that multiple teams were calling to inquire about interviewing Kitchens for their offensive coordinator position, but that the Browns had denied those requests in hopes to keep him.
It seems that the plan is to either hire Kitchens as the head coach of the team, or either allow or force him onto the incoming head coach. Unless the Browns are okay with losing Kitchens, then he must be named the head coach. Forced marriages between head coaches and coordinators rarely works and many head coaches will not like the idea of having the inability to hire their own staff; this is a crucial hire for the Browns, and one that they cannot afford any missteps with.
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Inexperience is the risk that would be ran, but that will be a present risk with any coordinator that the Browns would seek to bring in. Kitchens served as the associate head coach this season for Cleveland, potentially learning the nuances of the job. Additionally, Kitchens has built rapport with former head coaches such as Todd Bowles that he could hire as a coordinator and potentially associate head coach to help navigate any unfamiliarity that could come with the job.
The Browns have already completed an interview with Vikings interim coordinator offensive coordinator, confirming that Kevin Stefanski met with the team on Thursday last week. If the team is in the business of bringing in offensive coordinators, it would make sense to give the one right under their nose a serious look. Rapoport reported again today that Kitchens is expected to meet with the Browns’ search committee this week, and that he has a real chance at earning the job.
Kitchens has shown ingenuity with the Browns’ offense, an offense that averaged 305 yards per game and 21 points per game before Kitchens, and almost 400 yards per game and 24 points per game; the offense has ranked statistically the best it has been since 2007. If the new route in the NFL is to hire young, creative-minded head coaches, then the Browns have one in-house that should be offered the job immediately.
Baker Mayfield and Kitchens developed a bond throughout the second half of the season as they were seen frequently joking and laughing with one another. It would be devastating to breakup the young duo so early into their partnership that has shown such chemistry. Mayfield seemed to cryptically vouch for continuity, specifically on the offensive side of the football, after the Week 17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
After setting the rookie record for most touchdowns thrown by a rookie under the reigns of Kitchens, Mayfield spoke to the media:
"“The changes that are made, management wise, and everything they’ve done, I think speaks for itself…They know how I feel. Offensively how we played, second half of the season. I love the guys in that room and that’s why we had success.” (via Cleveland Browns)"
It would appear that the beloved franchise quarterback would also like to see Kitchens retained and realistically, for that to happen without running the risk of losing him altogether, Kitchens needs to be hired as the head coach of the Browns.
Earlier in the season, Kitchens was asked his thoughts on his time in Cleveland, and his response was nothing short of a guy that the city can rally behind and cheer for:
"“I like it here… like it here a lot. Everybody around here knows that I like it here. I love the town of Cleveland. Cleveland and I get along.” (via Cleveland Browns)"
Cleveland loves you too, Freddie. Mr. Dorsey, hire the man and give us the young coach to pair with our franchise quarterback for a long time to come; you will make this guy and the city of Cleveland filled with feelings of delight.