Myth #1: Freddie Kitchens is not qualified for the job
Do you recall that scene in The Wizard of Oz, where Scarecrow is asking the wizard for a brain. The wizard says, “Why, anybody can have a brain. That’s a very mediocre commodity…Back where I come from, we have universities, seats of great learning where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts – and with no more brains than you have. But! They have one thing you haven’t got, a diploma!”
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Yes, the NFL unemployment line is littered with coaches who have titles as long as your arm, but many of them haven’t won any more Super Bowls than Freddie Kitchens. But they had something that Kitchens didn’t – a title. Until now.
It seems that the one thing Kitchens is missing from an 11-year career in the NFL is a title. The title of offensive coordinator (I guess associate head coach doesn’t have as much juice these days). I would confer an honorary title on Kitchens, but he wouldn’t want it. He has said he won’t beg for a job, and I like that. He probably won’t feel the need to explain his background, so I will (briefly).
Kitchens has worked for three different NFL teams in 11 years. He’s coached under former NFL coaches Bill Parcells (Dallas), Bruce Arians (Arizona), Ken Whisenhunt (also Arizona) and Todd Haley (when Haley was the offensive coordinator in Arizona). He was the quarterbacks coach for Arizona when Carson Palmer enjoyed some of his best years. And what’s maybe more telling is when Haley was added to Hue Jackson’s staff, he brought Kitchens with him.
Kitchens is head coach of the Cleveland Browns – and he earned that title with an eight game audition where, unlike most interim coaches, he was coaching players who will actually be on the team in 2019. But even before that, he had begun to forge what appears to be an authentic relationship with our franchise quarterback, Baker Mayfield, built on mutual admiration and respect. I could think of worse reasons to hire him.