Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Browns ensure Baker is cooking with Kitchens

Browns ensure Baker is cooking with Kitchens

Early Wednesday afternoon, John Dorsey and the Browns announced that former running backs coach and interim offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens would be their head coach going forward.

The 44-year-old Alabama native has an interesting past.

Kitchens will be the 11th head coach - counting interim coaches - since the Browns returned to Cleveland in 1999.

This week, Ohio State announced that linebackers coach Bill Davis would be leaving the team to pursue opportunities in the National Football League after one season with the team. With Kitchens serving as the interim offensive coordinator after Todd Haley was sacked, the Browns went 5-3 under the duo, and Baker Mayfield rapidly became one of the most productive quarterbacks in the league.

That fear of losing Kitchens to another team clearly played a role in Dorsey's decision to make hire him for the job, however it may have driven away the franchise's top candidate as well. In eight games under Kitchens, Mayfield completed 68.4 percent of his passes for 2,254 yards, 19 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. While building game plans, he empowered his players by asking them what plays they were most comfortable running. The 30th-ranked offense by DVOA upon Jackson and Haley's exit, the Browns eventually finished the season ranked 17th. I mean, who the hell's ready to be a head coach?

"When you cause a defense to flinch a little bit or if you cause the defense to overthink a little bit, then maybe you have them on their heels instead of their toes", Williams said of Kitchens in late November, per ESPN's Pat McManamon. "I love the town of Cleveland". "I like it here a lot, and everybody around here knows that I like it here", Kitchens told Ohio.com. The Browns instead went with a younger, hungry, first-time head coach, and tried to get ahead of the curve on getting the "next big thing".

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