The national media says Freddie Kitchens is the Cleveland Browns biggest question mark heading into the 2019 season. If the team’s mandatory mini-camp is any indication, that perception is great news for the Browns.
You can summarize the national opinion about Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens in two words: Yes, but.
Yes, his promotion from running backs coach to offensive coordinator went smoothly, but … being a head coach is something else entirely.
Yes, he has the respect (key word) of the Browns franchise quarterback Baker Mayfield, but … that was more about what Hue Jackson was not more than what Freddie Kitchens was.
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
Yes, the players appear to love his straightforward, no-nonsense approach, but … can he manage all these “big” personalities?
As the Cleveland Browns wrapped up their mandatory mini-camp, Kitchens continues to show that he understands his doubters, and is having none of it.
Freddie Kitchens has worked under Bill Parcells, Nick Saban and Bruce Arians. As I continue to watch Kitchens handle his role as head coach, I can see the influence that all of these coaches have had.
However, when I hear Freddie Kitchens address the media, I can’t help but think of the Saban influence. This shouldn’t be surprising considering that Saban gave Kitchens his first coaching opportunity as a graduate assistant for Saban’s 2000 LSU team.
Kitchens answers the media’s questions respectfully (Ok, maybe that’s a little different from Saban) but with a tone in his voice that makes it clear that “this isn’t too big for me.” When Saban addressed the media there is no question who is in charge in Tuscaloosa.
Also, like Saban, Kitchens shows an understanding of how to feed the media beast (they have a job to do after all) without letting it consume what he is trying to accomplish. A good example of this is how Kitchens handled the daily questions he received about Odell Beckham Jr’s absence during the OTA period. Kitchens balanced a respect for Beckham’s decision while expressing sentiments that could have come from any fan (i.e. it would be nice if he had been there).
Ultimately, winning a press conference is not the same as winning football games and fans, like me, will be (probably too quick) to turn on Kitchens if the Browns start slowly. But I’ll stand behind the idea that if Freddie Kitchens is the Cleveland Browns biggest problem, then this season is looking really good.