Cleveland Browns Tap Freddie Kitchens as Head Coach

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Freddie Kitchens
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 23: Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens looks on during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 23, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Browns head coaching search has come to an end. After a series of interviews including former defensive coordinator and interim head coach Gregg Williams, the Browns have tapped their own offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens to take up the mantle as head coach.

Adam Schefter has also reported that Kevin Stefanski, the offensive coordinator in Minnesota, will remain with the Vikings after being a finalist in Cleveland alongside Kitchens.

Cleveland Browns to Hire Freddie Kitchens as New Head Coach

The Browns made headlines after firing head coach Hue Jackson when the team got off to a 2-5-1 start to the 2019 season, following a 1-31 record in Jackson’s first two seasons. During Jackson’s tenure, with Todd Haley on as offensive coordinator, the offense was lethargic despite the presence of rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield. Through eight weeks, the Browns were averaging 342.38 yards, 21.13 points, and just 215 passing yards.

The Browns underwent a renaissance on offense after Jackson’s firing when Kitchens took full control of the offense as interim coordinator. Over the final eight weeks, the Browns passing yardage rose over 70 yards per game to 285.88, while the overall yardage average rose to 395.13 and the scoring average rose to 23.75.

Mayfield himself also saw dramatic improvements under Kitchens as opposed to the Jackson/Haley regime. Mayfield was just 1-4 with eight touchdowns and six interceptions under Haley while completing 58.3 percent of his passes. He was also sacked 20 times.

Under Kitchens, Mayfield was publicly happier and went 5-3 with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing 68.4 percent of his passes and being sacked only five times.

Kitchens has a short resume as a coordinator or head coach. Indeed, his first opportunity as an NFL coordinator came this year after Todd Haley’s exit in Cleveland. Kitchens had previously bounced around the NFL coaching tight ends, running backs, and quarterbacks for the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. This will mark his first effort as a football head coach at any level.

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