Report: Browns will hire Freddie Kitchens as head coach

AP

The Browns cut their list of candidates for their head coaching vacancy down to two in the last couple of days and they have reportedly settled on their choice.

Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that they will promote offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens to the top job. Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski met with the team a second time on Tuesday and was considered the other finalist for the job as the permanent replacement for Hue Jackson.

Jackson was fired eight games into the 2018 season along with offensive coordinator Todd Haley and those moves bumped Kitchens up to the coordinator spot. Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield thrived once Kitchens took the reins and the Browns finished with their best record since 2007 after going 5-3 in the second half of the season.

The hope in Cleveland will be that sticking with Kitchens enables the team to build on that close to the year and find their way back to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

94 responses to “Report: Browns will hire Freddie Kitchens as head coach

  1. Big Mistake. Freddie Did a good job as offensive coordinator. Greg Williams earned this job and it should’ve been given to Greg Williams! Keep Freddie as offensive coordinator!

  2. This was for Baker and continuity of his development

  3. Thank goodness. It makes you wonder how this really went down and if the “pro Stefanski” (DePodesta?) crowd will be lying in wait to undermine Dorsey and Kitchens.

  4. Good for him, he deserves a shot. First guy to get something palatable out of them in almost 20 years. Well done.

  5. So they’re sticking with the coach that helped Baker Mayfield become ROY? A surprisingly smart move for a team that is not especially known for making smart moves. Good job Browns.

    Now if Kitchens is smart, he’ll keep Williams as his DC. The Browns were a decent team in the second half of the season, let that continue to grow and they may actually become a good team. Heck they may even compete for their division.

  6. Sounds like a solid choice.He seems like a coach that players would like & respect enough to go to war for. It’s nice to not have the attitude of ” What stupid hire will the Browns make now” anymore. For once,
    I trust the football decisions that this organzation makes now. Another good draft & free Agent crop, this team could finally BE something It’s GREAT to be a believer after all these miserable seasons…..

  7. interesting. Does he keep Williams to run the D? Or is Williams butt hurt that he didn’t get the job after doing well in the interim seat? Bump him up to Assistant HC/Def Coordinator, give him more money – continuity on both sides I think would be good.

  8. No surprise here. His interview was the 2nd half of last season. My only worry is that being a head coach is a little different than an offensive coordinator. He’s only had half a season as an OC and has never been a HC. A head coach is essentially a manager, but having Greg Williams with HC experience should help.

    This is the route you had to go with Baker Mayfield as your QB. Imagine us failing with Kitchen’s as head coach. Every Browns fan will say, “well we gave it a shot”. Imagine us failing with someone else other than Greg Williams or Kitchens as head coach, you can already see where that’s headed.

    I still wanted Bruce Arians as HC, Greg Williams DC, and Kitchens OC. That way if Arian’s decides to retire in a couple of years, it gave Kitchens a couple years of offensive coordinator experience with some grooming to become the next head coach.

    I trust Dorsey though.

  9. As a fan, Im not narrow minded to fall on the bandwagon of 9 games of success. Is this guy really ready? IS he qualified? This feels like another Cleveland bad joke to me. Sorry. I smell another Xleveland sports tragedy here

  10. i enjoyed watching the browns resurge this year but it was obvious that Gregg WIlliams was as big a facotr as anybody else involved. He definitely shoulda got the job. I know from being a whodat warrior his defensive genius

  11. He here is an idea…why not just scramble everything that clearly worked down the stretch this year and run Greg Williams out of Cleveland. Is it any wonder why this team is trash and will continue to be trash. The ownership has to be the worst judge of coaching talent in the history of the NFL.

  12. Kitchens righted the ship on the offensive side of the ball this year. Mayfield seems to respond to him. Coach and quarterback thing. I like it. Now the question is DC, Williams is out, the defense had its moments, but was inconsistent.

  13. For those of you who wanted Greg Williams, do you really think that the players and front office really knew who caused the success. Lot of things behind the scenes we don’t know. Williams may have been in the right place at the right time. Obviously, that must be true.

  14. Williams came into his role and the team finished 5-3.

    But also,

    Kitchens came into his role and the team finished 5-3.

    So if Berea thinks that Kitchens is the way forward, I can go along with that fine.

  15. This was for Baker and continuity of his development
    ___________________________________

    Just like the Bucs did with promoting Dirk Koetter as HC for the continuity of the development of Jameis Winston

  16. Many thanks to Williams for helping to turn things around for us. Best of luck to him.

    Looking forward to seeing if Kitchens can keep the momentum going.

  17. Browns continue to be the Browns. If not go outside for your new head coach then why not at least kick the tires with Gregg Williams for another season, in my opinion he earned the opportunity. Like I said the Browns continue to be the Browns.

  18. This hire won’t matter if their defense is worse next season. It started off so good back in September and October, but dwindled down to mediocrity later in the season. Now that Greg Williams is gone, they need to find a defensive coordinator who can maintain some level of consistency throughout each quarter of each game.

  19. He was the OC for half a year. Just being the OC for Williams again next year should have been enough.

  20. Huh. I don’t get eliminating Gregg. Assuming that Blake goes too. Have to start over on that side, which is interesting. They definitely have talent.

  21. Love to see Williams and his kid both gone. Defense was horrible, and unacceptable for the talent, although not elite across the board, to many missed tackles and out of position. Did great in the turnover part, but the yards given up when it counted, turrible.

  22. Hiring a coach because he coached your QB always works out well, lol. But that’s so Browns. You finally have an attractive position to offer people and then you do this. And make no mistake about it, that’s all they considered and not whether he could actually manage a team, put together a staff, manage a locker room, etc., which is kind of the different skill set your HC needs to possess. Something tells me all of those Tomlin and Harbaugh jokes are going to be stale in a year after another 4-12 season.

  23. Not that I don’t still hate Williams for his “Lets take out Favre’s Knee” dirty coaching.. but I wonder why he was not the candidate.

    They were 5-3 under HIS leadership, not Kitchens’.
    Were they afraid that Kitchens might go elsewhere if not promoted?

    This might backfire if this turns about to be another example of “That guy was a great coordinator but NOT a head coach” scenario…

  24. Who knows how this will work out? Hiring head coaches is a bigger crap shoot than the draft. Kitchens has been around long enough to know how things work, and he certainly showed some creativity on offense, so I wont’ complain about this hiring. Williams will be gone for the sake of not having any conflict between the two; whether that would happen or not is unknown, and whether or not Williams and Kitchens agreed is unknown.
    Getting a decent DC will be important; not only creativity wise, but hopefully another experienced guy who can help out Kitchens.
    Oh, and how about a new special teams coach. Just sayin’.

  25. I hope Gregg Williams doesn’t leave and we’ll see what he is made of. They went with Kitchens because they really could ill afford to let young fresh talent walk out the door because he wanted his own team when you already have him in house. I do wish Williams good luck no matter what he does. He’s a good man as well.

  26. I hope the Steelers make a play for Gregg Williams, although he will probably get some HC offers. Sorry Browns’ fans, I think your front office made a mistake on this one. He had those guys playing good, and they seemed to respond well to him. Time will tell.

  27. No reason to panic or jump for joy either.

    I only know I feel much better now than I did immediately after Dorsey’s first draft for us. In other words, “In this front office I trust.” FINALLY.

  28. Riiiight… so Williams was good enough to survive the purge; then led the team to a winning record, and is now not good enough?? and then to hand the reigns to a guy who started the season as a position coach? if this is Haslam, well, then the stupidity continues. if this is Mayfield, well, then the stupidity continues.

  29. thetooloftools says:
    I hope Gregg Williams doesn’t leave and we’ll see what he is made of.

    No way Williams stays. What they just did was the equivalent of a slap in the face.

  30. Smart move. If they had gone with Williams, they could have held on to Kitchens for another year as OC before losing him to another team. Williams.is a.good defensive coach but he’s nothing special and can be replaced if he chooses to leave.

  31. Gregg,
    Welcome to Pittsburgh. You’re office is right across the hall from the 6 Lombarbi trophies. See if you can make that 7.

    – Steeler Nation

  32. realityonetwo says:
    January 9, 2019 at 12:31 pm
    Williams still paying for Bountygate.
    ————————————–

    As it should be!

  33. There have been 10 coach’s promoted from within to HC in league history & guess how many have worked out? ZERO!! Jim Caldwell, Jim Mora, Dave Campo, Ben McAdoo, Dirk Koetter, Jim Tomsula, I mean this list is a pretty pathetic list of coach’s. Kitchens makes #11. I mean it when I say this move has Jimmy Haslam’s fingerprints all over it. Haslam’s stank is all over this move.

  34. Not saying this is a bad choice, but I cannot imagine them keeping Williams, or Williams keeping them.

    Imagine getting promoted at work, having the big office, being in charge and doing a really, really good job for your company. Then imagine going back to your cubicle. Those scenarios don’t work.

  35. Wonder how Williams feels – completely turns their season around, delivers their best results in a decade, and gets passed over for a guy who has only been a coordinator for 2 months. And, seemingly, wasn’t even their #2 candidate, that being a 1-season coordinator from another team that didn’t do all that well.

    This had better work for them, because they just turned their best state in ages on its head.

  36. Just handed division title to Baltimore for next year. Cleveland keeps giving to Baltimore-go figure.

  37. I’m not a Browns fan – meaning, I don’t know enough about the man to make an educated evaluation. However, kudos to them for not going for the big splash hire.

  38. Hey all u arm chair GM’s, Freddie hasn’t coached game one, yet y’all have declared him a total failure. Why not let him coach a year before writing him off? The players respect and love playing for Freddie. Obviously, John Dorsey sees great potential in Kitchens. Thus far, Dorsey’s decisions have been the correct ones. As a Browns fan for 55 years I hope Dorsey is correct on this one.

  39. I don’t know if this is the right hire. Certainly, Kitchen’s relationship with Mayfield played a huge role in his hire. But, in a larger sense, how he interacts with players in general played no small part. He’s a coach who seeks feedback from players on game-planning and adjustments and actually incorporates what he gets if he agrees with it. By all accounts, he’s a straight-shooter. No BS. We’ll see if he has the chops to be a true leader. There will be some growing pains as there always is with first-time HCs. In a year when there was slim pickings in the pool of qualified candidates, Kitchens makes sense. Guys like Tomlin, Reid, and Harbaugh were rather obscure assistant coaches when they were hired and they’ve done really good work overall in their careers.

  40. ravensbob says:
    January 9, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Just handed division title to Baltimore for next year. Cleveland keeps giving to Baltimore-go figure.

    ===============

    Nah. I expect another close race in the division next year, but think the Ravens will end up #3. They got away with the nobody-knows-what-Jackson-will-do thing for a while, but the Chargers just solved it, so expect more modest returns next year.

  41. warfieldhof says:
    Hey all u arm chair GM’s, Freddie hasn’t coached game one, yet y’all have declared him a total failure. Why not let him coach a year before writing him off? The players respect and love playing for Freddie. Obviously, John Dorsey sees great potential in Kitchens. Thus far, Dorsey’s decisions have been the correct ones. As a Browns fan for 55 years I hope Dorsey is correct on this one.


    Greg Williams lead the Browns to 5-3 in half a season. Thats more wins than the Browns had in 2015, 2016 and 2017 combined. They fired Williams for a guy who was hired less than a year ago as the Running Backs coach.

  42. I suppose the big question is whom will Kitchens hire as DC. But even more important, who will be the OC under Kitchens. I sure hope the Boy from ‘Bama isn’t that foolish to think he can do both.

    Being the HC isn’t the same as being the creative mind that designs schemes and plays, and calls the plays during the game. Kitchens will need an OC who is aligned with his thinking. Maybe that was the reason for Stefanski’s return visit. Better yet, Sirianni from Indy would’ve been perfect…an OC who deferred play-calling to the HC.

  43. I have been pleasantly wrong about every decision Dorsey has made. I wont even try to second guess his pick in coaching staff. Im just here for the ride GO BROWNS.

  44. I think that many in league circles consider Williams to be tainted/damaged goods.
    He was suspended after all for “Bounty-Gate”.

    And he did have HC experience and went 17-31.

    So, not exactly stellar performance not is he exactly shining example of integrity and morality as a leader.

  45. And this is why i was never worried about the Browns being good. From QB coach never calling plays to head coach in under 8 games because you won against Atlanta,Cincinnati,Carolina,Denver & Cincinnati again. The games against Houston & Baltimore (you know Playoff teams) Mayfield threw 3 picks each game and they lost. Fools Gold.

  46. If you follow the Browns, you know the team came together after Hue was fired and said they didn’t care who would be named coach but they would play for all the guys in the locker room. That’s where their success came from. That and Freddie’s play calling. Freddie is a locker room guy. Now find a great DC as well.

  47. Just heard on the radio that Greg Williams was relived of his duty’s. That’s kinda interesting.

  48. It’s so weird for me seeing the Browns make smart decisions. *Stewie Griffin voice* I don’t like change~

  49. Just watch the time management and decision making at the end of the last game against the Ravens if you want to see why Williams was not retained. Kitchens and Baker are the reason this team improved, the defense and special teams ranked nearly last in the league the second half of the season. And if you for one second don’t think the “Come Get some” rah rah attitude of Williams wouldn’t grate on players halfway through a full season you are foolish.

    Baker is an outside the box QB and needed an outside of the Box HC..

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