Freddie Kitchens wants the Cleveland Browns to be themselves
The Cleveland Browns have spoken their mind about New York Jets’ Gregg Williams over the past couple of days, but it does not bother Freddie Kitchens.
Cleveland Browns safety Damarious Randall and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. have been vocal about their dislike for New York Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams over the past couple of days. However, Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens is not upset about the comments in the media.
Randall said on Friday that had Williams been named Cleveland’s permanent head coach in the offseason, he would have instantly demanded a trade. He also said he had no love for Williams.
Beckham said earlier in the week that Williams teaches dirty hits to his defense, which potentially led to Beckham suffering an ankle injury against the Browns during a 2017 preseason game. The injury forced Beckham to miss the beginning of the season.
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Beckham’s and Randall’s comments has created some animosity with the Jets, quickly making Monday night’s game into a small rivalry game. The Jets are going to want to defend their defensive coordinator, so the comments from the Browns will give them some bulletin board material.
Even if the Browns comments this week has created extra motivation for the Jets, Kitchens is not going to silence his players. Instead, he feels allowing the players to speak their mind will ultimately allow them to be their best – via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
"“I want guys to be themselves because I think they’re the best when they can just be themselves,’’ he said Friday. “In saying that, as long as they’re not doing anything that hurts this football team, I’m fine with them whatever they want to do. Once it starts steps over the boundary of hurting the football team, then that’s where I have to step in and they understand that.” – Freddie Kitchens via Cleveland.com"
Kitchens has said this same idea before in relation to Baker Mayfield. Despite drawing some criticism, Kitchens wanted Mayfield to be himself because that is what has helped Mayfield emerge as a leader. Mayfield’s competitive nature may rub some people the wrong way, but it has helped him excel on the field.
The comments from Beckham and Randall has also rubbed people the wrong way, considering how poorly the team played in the season opener. Instead of creating headlines with comments off the field, some fans would want their team to keep the attention and focus on the field. But Kitchens is not one of those people.
Despite their comments off the field, Kitchens knows his team is focused at the task at hand: beating the New York Jets. He even believes Beckham’s comments were meant to be a signal to the officials on Monday night to keep an eye on potential cheap shots.
Kitchens is handling his team much differently than many other head coaches would. However, by letting the players be themselves, Kitchens believes it helps the players perform at their best. It remains to be seen if that will truly be the case for the 2019 Cleveland Browns.