1. How will Freddie Kitchens perform as head coach
Cleveland started out the 2018 season with a 2-5-1 record, which led to the firing of head coach Hue Jackson. Also relieved of his duties was offensive coordinator Todd Haley who reportedly was feuding with Jackson from the day he arrived in Berea.
Replacing Jackson as interim coach was Gregg Williams and taking over for Haley as interim offensive coordinator was Freddie Kitchens. They went 5-3 together although the majority of the credit went to Kitchens, who proved to be an effective play caller.
He did so well that he inserted himself into the head coaching discussion in the offseason and wound up winning the job. Kitchens now enters his rookie season as a head coach with an incredibly large task on his plate.
The first-year head coach is taking over a franchise that hasn’t been to the playoffs since the 2002 season and hasn’t had a winning campaign since 2007. Despite their lack of success in recent years, Kitchens is expected to win right away thanks to the moves made during the past two years by John Dorsey.
On top of the lofty expectations — which many rookie coaches don’t have to deal with — Kitchens will be dealing with some big personalities. The Cleveland locker room will have Baker Mayfield, OBJ, Jarvis Landry, Sheldon Richardson, and Kareem Hunt. Yes, that’s an insane amount of talent but there are also some huge egos which will require a lot of juggling by Kitchens.
We won’t know until the season wraps up just how good of a job Kitchens has done, but training camp and the preseason will be our first chance to see how he handles this team and whether or not he’s in over his head.
Seeing how Kitchens has handled things, as well as the fact that Mayfield believes in him, makes it seem as though he will do just fine. However, until we see that the question will remain.