Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield’s regression is real and must be addressed
Is this the right coaching staff for Baker?
The Cleveland Browns and more specifically John Dorsey must address the elephant in the room. Is Freddie Kitchens the right guy for this job? The main reason the Browns were thought to have retained Kitchens and made him their head coach was his ability to get the best out of Baker Mayfield. That obviously has not been the case this year.
Where did it go wrong? How much time has Kitchens dedicated to developing Mayfield and how much has he put on the quarterback coach’s plate? Did he even hire a real quarterback coach to teach Mayfield?
Last season, Mayfield had a legitimate quarterback coach in Ken Zampese. This season, Kitchens assigned first-year quarterback coach Ryan Lindley to be Mayfield’s quarterback coach. How could Kitchens justify pairing a young quarterback with a guy who would be learning on the job? You could say the same for Dorsey giving Kitchens the head coaching job.
From the outside looking in, it appeared to be an inside job. Instead of hiring a mentor and teacher for Mayfield, Freddie appointed a buddy. Lindley was given the job of coaching the running backs after Kitchens was appointed the offensive coordinator position at mid-season in 2018. Then when Kitchens was named the head coach, he gifted Lindley the quarterback coach position. By going with the buddy system, Kitchens put his young hopeful franchise quarterback in a very disadvantageous position.
It is unknown at this time if the Browns will move on from Kitchens. But if he is retained, changes must be made. Mayfield needs and deserves the best support system that the Browns can possibly give him. That starts with him having a legitimate quarterback coach.