Freddie Kitchens

Daryl Ruiter-92.3 The Fan

Get ready for Freddie? Kitchens could be the leader for Browns job

Kevin Stefanski reportedly returning for second interview, but maybe as OC

January 9, 2019
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Daryl Ruiter-Cleveland (92.3 The Fan) – After a full week and 7 interviews, we may finally have a leader in the clubhouse to become the Browns next head coach: offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens.

There has been growing buzz Tuesday surrounding Kitchens’ candidacy, less than a day after he interviewed for the job.

Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, citing multiple league sources, reported Tuesday afternoon that the Browns are zeroing in on Kitchens and that several assistant coaches have been asked to remain with the team going forward indicating Kitchens in fact could be promoted. 

NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday that Kevin Stefanski is returning to Cleveland for a second interview with the Browns but according to Charlie Walters of the St, Paul Pioneer Press, Stefanski’s contract with the Vikings as offensive coordinator expired Tuesday which means he is free to interview for coordinator positions and there’s a good chance that could be what is happening.

Here’s why all signs seem to be pointing in Kitchens’ direction.

1. The question the Browns are asking themselves is do they hire someone else to be the head coach now and retain Kitchens as offensive coordinator only to potentially lose him to another team as a head coach in 2020 or 2021, or do they just hire Kitchens now as head coach and surround him with a strong staff? If the organization projects Kitchens to be an NFL head coach, they might as well keep and put him in charge.

2. General manager John Dorsey and the search committee already knows what type of person they are getting in Kitchens, and that matters to the Browns – a lot – considering the amount of internal strife the organization has gone through which has resulted in a multitude of coaches, general managers and executives being fired since the Haslams bought the team in 2012. They don’t want a power-hungry coach that will fight with the front office or constantly state his case to ownership, just a coach.

3. Last week the Browns denied requests from multiple teams to interview Kitchens for offensive coordinator positions because he remained under contract with them. They wanted to option to retain Kitchens in his current capacity or to promote him to head coach.  

4. On Monday team officials contacted former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy or his representatives to put any talks with him on hold.

5. Kitchens demonstrated his ability over the last 8 games of the season to maximize talent. Baker Mayfield’s production – and the production of the offense in general – saw increases in yardage and averaged 3 more points per game. Over the final 8 games under Kitchens Mayfield went 5-3 as a starter and completed 68.4 percent of his passes (an increase of 10 percent from the first 6 games) for 2,254 yards with 19 touchdowns and 8 interceptions while being sacked just 5 times (after being sacked 20 times in the first 6 games).

Anything is possible and can still happen, but don’t be shocked if Kitchens ultimately is the choice.