The question about whether or not Freddie Kitchens can handle the job was discussed at length on the More Sports and Les Levine show
On the latest wonderfully titled More Sports and Les Levine show, Les brings up a touchy question:
Can Cleveland Browns new head coach Freddie Kitchens handle the job?
The Freddie-doubters have been chirping about whether he’s too new for the gig to handle all those dynamic personalities while managing the logistics of the entire team.
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Quick 411 to those doubtful folk – Kitchens has already established himself as a team leader by college quarterbacking Ala-freakin-Bama as a starter for three seasons, including playing in the Crimson Tide’s victories in the 1993 Gator Bowl, the 1994 Citrus Bowl and the 1996 Outback Bowl.
Then he proved it again as a stand-in offensive coordinator calling the plays in the second half of last season. Kitchens went 5-3 and as Levine’s guest Jim Ingraham says so astutely, the Browns didn’t just get a little better once Kitchens started calling plays, they got a lot better.
Problem is, Kitchens doesn’t come across as your typical NFL coach.
But neither did Blant Collier, argues Ingraham.
Wait, who the hell is Blant Collier?
Only the Browns’ head coach who took over for THE Paul Brown and from 1963-1970 Collier had a career record of 76-34-2.
“Blant Collier wasn’t looked at as the hottest pick when he took over. You thought Collier would be an assistant head coach forever.”
Same with John Madden, insists Ingraham. Same with Kitchens.
Browns general manager John Dorsey has deemed Kitchens worthy of handling Cleveland’s powerful new franchise.
And even though Kitchens doesn’t come across as the typical head coach, Dorsey has been close to perfect with his draft picks and free agency pick-ups.
“…so far John Dorsey hasn’t made a mistake yet, and I’m under the theory that if Dorsey says it’s okay, then it’s okay.”
Ingraham makes the point that there are examples of guys who have risen to the head coaching job from unlikely paths and it’s worked.
And Levine agrees and adds that it’s clear there’s not just one way to do it.
As for the multi-tasking aspect of Kitchens’ new job, Levine points out that when you’re calling the plays and handling the head coaching business, it’s totally distracting.
Ingraham admits that he’s never been a fan of one coach doing both of those two jobs.
“I would argue that there are only three or four guys that have earned that right.”
Head coaching while calling plays is tough.
Managing quirky personalities like Baker Mayfield’s and Jarvis Landry’s and Odell Beckham’s is probably pretty tough, too.
Kitchens is used to demanding order in his huddle and he vows to always stand behind the players in his locker room.
He’s proven that when his players call out their opponents or fake coaches and demand respect, he backs them up without pause or timid words, saying:
“I don’t know when it became big news to speak the truth.”
Kitchens has at least a season to prove John Dorsey right, and he’s admitted from the get-go that he knows he’s not what people were picturing.
But Ingraham correctly mentions that as soon as Kitchens took over the Browns’ offense they got a whole lot better so obviously he must have had something to do with that.
So Dorsey figured, why not?
Ingraham closes by observing that for most of these potential head coaches, you don’t know how they’ll do until they become the coach and you see the results.
And when Kitchens was told he was not the popular choice to turn the Browns around, his answer should tell you everything you need to know about the man:
“I don’t care.”
Kitchens only cares about winning, and in 2019 Browns fans get to watch him handle the job.
It’ll be the most important test of Dorsey’s vision so far.