Cleveland Browns: FSR’s Jason Smith’s anti-Baker Mayfield take on the Freddie Kitchens choice
Jason Smith seems to think the Cleveland Browns are hamstrung by quarterback Baker Mayfield but that couldn’t be farther from the truth
Check out Fox Sports Radio host Jason Smith’s take on the Cleveland Browns’ recent head coaching decision.
On his FSR show, Smith asserts that former offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens only got the Browns head-coaching job because no one else wants to handle Browns rookie quarterback and player who’d rather his coach not be fake and shift blame to others Baker Mayfield.
And it’s easy for pro-Baker Cleveland Browns fans (and by that, I mean all Browns fans) to hear a comment like that and immediately go on the defensive, but the guy does make some somewhat valid if not totally moot points.
Moot because Baker is the Browns franchise quarterback and he’s not going to be changing his style anytime soon.
Smith believes that coaching Mayfield is not something that appeals to successful coaches like Bruce Arians, Mike McCarthy or Matt LeFleur, whose names had been floated out there as possible contenders for the job.
Candidates for the Browns gig have to be okay with the fact that they’re signing up to be in the Baker Mayfield Show.
Smith calls Mayfield “the most powerful person in that organization” because he’s had one person fired already (Hue Jackson) and everyone else is totally behind him and his “cocksure” attitude.
So any new coach has to wonder, what if I don’t get along with Baker?
Smith submits these as questions possible coaching candidates might have had:
"“Am I going to hear about something [Mayfield] says on social media?”“Am I going to have to worry that if things don’t go well, I’m going to have to start getting blamed, [Mayfield]’s going to say something snidely towards me in the press?”“If I get fired…is [Mayfield] going to light me up?”"
Smith reminds us that the whole world saw how Mayfield treated Jackson, regardless of whether he deserved it, and potential coaches have to wonder if things don’t work out whether they’d be treated in the same way.
Again, all valid, if not mostly moot, points.
Moot because Baker’s the Browns’ franchise quarterback and he’s not going to be changing his style anytime soon.
So who does Smith believe would be okay with the head coaching situation the Browns were offering?
"“Coaching Baker Mayfield is something that appeals to someone who needs a chance somewhere to be a head coach and may not get it anywhere else.”"
Someone like the two finalists for the job, Kevin Stefanski and Freddie Kitchens, for instance.
Men who’ve never had a head coaching job before and whose NFL assistant coaching resumes only go a few teams deep.
(In other words, someone as desperate as a winter squirrel, or worse, actor Steven Segal.)
According to Smith, “these are the guys that no one’s talking to to be a head coach. No one is. But the Browns are.”
Ouch, that hurts…well, it would only hurt if the Browns were in a typical NFL situation.
You know, the kind that involves a team whose minor ailments could be cured by a tall, quiet quarterback like Sam Darnold or a prototypical NFL head coach like Bruce Arians or Mike McCarthy.
But that ain’t the Browns.
And general manager John Dorsey knows that – which is why he chose Mayfield number one overall in the first place and picked Denzel Ward instead of Bradley Chubb and Nick Chubb instead of Saquon Barkley.
Who subsequently as a group won 11 rookie-of-the-year awards in 2018.
Where Smith errs in his logic is when he says that Mayfield is difficult to coach compared to young quarterbacks Darnold or Josh Allen and that he scares good coaches away.
No – he scares the WRONG coaches away.
What Smith fails to realize is that outside-the-box players like Mayfield require similar leadership.
Baker is like if Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman were one guy – only a Phil Jackson could handle that combination, just like only a Freddie Kitchens can handle the Browns version of that.
There truly was no other choice for the Browns head coaching position than Freddie Kitchens, and not because nobody else was willing to take the job.
It’s because Freddie knows what Baker needs to succeed, and together they’re 5-3 and prepared to bring winning football back to Cleveland, despite everyone else’s valid yet 100 percent moot points.
Baker Mayfield and all he brings is the Browns franchise quarterback and he’s not going to be changing his style anytime soon.
And thank Dorsey for that.