Will Freddie Kitchens be one and done in Cleveland?

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Eight games in, and the Freddie Kitchens experiment is not going well in Cleveland.

Indeed, it was and is an experiment. A calculated risk. A measured, weighted decision to elevate an interim offensive coordinator who had no grooming for a head-coaching job — and whose lack of grooming continues to reveal itself.

The Browns, after the team unexpectedly finished 2018 with a 7-8-1 record, could have tried to hire another coach and to keep Kitchens as the offensive coordinator. But even if the Browns had pulled that off, Kitchens’ name would have made its way into the discussion for head-coaching opportunities elsewhere, if he’d continued to produce impressive results with quarterback Baker Mayfield. So the Browns ultimately may have had Kitchens for only one more year.

They ultimately may have him for one more year, anyway, if the organization decides that Kitchens is the latest in a long line of coordinators who can’t make the leap to head coach.

But in Kitchens’ defense, he’s not prepared for the job in large part because no one had prepared him from the job.

“I can tell you in my case. I was 14, 15 years as an assistant coach, my last four working under Denny Green,” Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy said last week on PFT Live. “He was telling me, ‘Hey, you’re going to be a head coach. You need to be on top of this.’ He allowed me into meetings, and into personnel meetings. He would come to talk to me and tell me, ‘I’m thinking of making a quarterback change, here’s why, here’s what’s going to go with it.’ He prepared me for four years. When I got the job [in Tampa], it was still overwhelming. When you don’t prepare, when you haven’t had that like Freddie, it’s going to be a learn on the run. It’s not his fault.”

It’s also not his fault that expectations were sky high — although it’s partially his fault that the expectations weren’t brought under control

“Cleveland I always thought they were going to be a year away,” Dungy said Friday. “Everyone was talking about this year being their breakthrough year. I just felt like getting everybody together, working all of those parts together, I think they can have a tremendous year next year. But I just didn’t see it happening so quick and I think that’s going to be the case. I think they’ll flash, they’ll win some games, they’ll look great at times, but it’s still going to be a rollercoaster for them the rest of this year.”

The rollercoaster has been down so far, with six losses in eight games. And the fans are indeed getting restless, as evidenced by a simple “Freddie Kitchens one and done?” Twitter poll question posted on Sunday night. With more than 47,000 votes and counting, 94 percent say “yes.” 94 percent! In 2019 America, we can’t get 94 percent of the people to agree on what day it is, and 94 percent of the respondents to this specific question agree that Kitchens should be fired after one season.

I’m withholding judgment for now. After next week’s Buffalo game, the schedule softens a bit. A late run remains possible. But it won’t be easy as Kitchens tries to figure things out on the fly, and it won’t be easy for the organization to decide whether to give him another year to do it, if he doesn’t down the stretch.

26 responses to “Will Freddie Kitchens be one and done in Cleveland?

  1. He’s a deadman walking at this point. It’s an unfortunate situation all the way around, especially with all the talent and expectations of the Browns this year. I think we all were secretly hoping he was the next “Mcvay”.

  2. In 2014, Haslam listened to a homeless guy and picked Johnny Manziel.

    In 2019, Haslam listened to Baker Mayfield and hired Freddie Kitchens.

    Based on Mayfield’s behavior, I’m not sure listening to Baker is much better than listening to a homeless guy.

  3. Hahaha! Just this week all the Browns fans (and PFF Writers) were looking at the schedule and claiming a big win streak. I pointed out not to count your wins yet. This is a dysfunctional team that has too many “stars”. The Coaches/Management will be ousted and some of players will all be tossed aside for money saving in the 2 years. They will essentially be in rebuilding forever because of this.

  4. Since his day of hiring I always thought it was a horrible hire. Gregg Williams was and is the reason they had great improvement once Hue was fired. Should’ve kept Gregg, even with all his previous failures, aka bountygate.

  5. He makes poor in-game decisions. HIs instincts are questionable. The team is undisciplined. Baker looks awful. I don’t see this turning around for him.

  6. He should be one-half and done. Why waste any more time with him…he’s obviously not the answer. It was a questionable hire anyway and now it’s looking like an extremely poor hire.

  7. Not sure. He should fire himself as offensive coordinator now and Baker should be yanked from the field when Browns are in the red zone. Baker keeps refusing to read the field on pre-snap, struggling mightily in man to man coverage, staring down his intended target, and throwing into double/triple coverage.

  8. If you fire coaches every year or two then how do you expect to get a good one applying for the job? The 49ers had to give a 6 year fully guaranteed contract to get their HC, the Browns will have to do the same.

    There is more risk than you think coming to Cleveland. IF Baker turns out to be an up and down QB, win some and blow some, then he’ll be good enough to get you fired.

  9. Not Kitchens fault for not being prepared to take on a HC job.
    It is his fault for taking on a job he is unprepared for.
    The only caveat being a handshake with ownership in place that gives him the grace to learn on the job.

  10. What GM in their right mind takes a guy that was a QB coach the begining of the year and ONLY has 8-9 games at OC and makes them the HC?

    The Browns are getting exactly what they deserve for that asinine move!

  11. Seems like a good guy but so is your brother-in-law who is sleeping on your couch because he can’t hold a job.

  12. The Browns is a mess from top to bottom and it’s enjoyable to see. A team who had the media and themselves fall for their hype because they won 5 out of their last 7 to end last season although it was against the Bengals twice, Falcons, Panthers, and Broncos. A undisciplined team with a unqualified head coach, outside of Myles Garrett a below average to average defense, an abysmal offensive line, and a overrated quarterback who has 26 interceptions in 22 games.

  13. I don’t like Greg Williams but the team responded to him last year. If you couldn’t get an experienced head coach, they should have hired him with a 2 year contract.

    Kitchens wasn’t ready. He wasn’t even a coordinator for Pete’s sake.

  14. Browns have already won 2 games and will be heavy favorites in at least 3 more. Squeeze out another and 5 or 6 wins is a decent season in Cleveland.

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