Fred­die Kitchens hir­ing is of­fi­cial

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeff Schudel [email protected]­ald.com @JSProIn­sider on Twit­ter By the time Fred­die Kitchens holds his first prac­tice as head coach of the Browns some time in April, no one will care the an­nounce­ment didn’t be­come of­fi­cial un­til three days af­ter the new

Kitchens beat out six other can­di­dates. Three of them — Wil­liams, Colts de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Matt Eber­flus and Patriots lineback­ers coach Brian Flores — came from de­fen­sive back­grounds. The other three — Vik­ings of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Kevin Ste­fan­ski, for­mer Colts and Li­ons head coach Jim Cald­well and Saints as­sis­tant head coach/tight ends coach — came from of­fen­sive back­grounds.

Kitchens had never been a head coach on any level nor an of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor un­til he re­placed fired Todd Ha­ley on Oct. 29. He is not fazed by that chal­lenge.

“Dawg Pound, this is Fred­die Kitchens,” Kitchens says on Twit­ter, wear­ing his orange Dawg Pound sweat­shirt and look­ing into the cam­era in a tweet re­leased by the Browns. “You re­mem­ber when I said I’ve never been of­fered a head coach­ing job? That’s changed. I’m your new head coach, Fred­die Kitchens. Let’s roll.”

Though he was never an of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor un­til the se­cond half of the 2018 sea­son, he has 13 years as an NFL as­sis­tant and seven years as a col­lege as­sis­tant coach on his re­sume. May­field blos­somed with Kitchens call­ing plays. Kitchens’ in­no­va­tive de­signs, in­clud­ing the wish­bone of­fense in the game against the Fal­cons, kept de­fenses off-bal­ance.

For­mer Alabama head coach Gene Stallings, who coached the Crim­son Tide when Kitchens was the Alabama quar­ter­back, re­called the Browns’ new head coach as a player.

“The thing that im­pressed me from Day One about Fred­die was his tough­ness,” Stallings said in a state­ment. “A lot of peo­ple who play quar­ter­back are not as tough as some of the other po­si­tions. But Fred­die was ex­tremely ag­gres­sive and tough. He did a good job in the pros, worked for Bill Par­cells for a year (Cow­boys) and worked for Nick Sa­ban at LSU, so he’s got a good back­ground. I think he’ll do an ex­cel­lent job for Cleve­land.”

Nat­u­rally, May­field is fired up to have Kitchens back. Kitchens is ex­pected to con­tinue call­ing plays, but it re­mains to be seen how much in­put he will have in the week to week de­sign of the game plan. The Browns have yet to name an of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor.

“It was great work­ing with and learn­ing from Fred­die last year,” May­field said in a state­ment. “He has such a cre­ative mind. He cre­ates mis­matches and just put guys in po­si­tion to take ad­van­tage of their op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“He puts trust in us as play­ers. He’s the same guy ev­ery day. I’m re­ally ex­cited about 2019 and the fu­ture of the Cleve­land Browns.”

May­field com­pleted 68 per­cent of his passes for 2,254 yards, 19 touch­downs and eight in­ter­cep­tions in the se­cond half of the sea­son. For per­spec­tive, he com­pleted 58 per­cent of his passes for 1,471 yards, eight touch­downs and six in­ter­cep­tions in 5 ½ games in the first half of the sea­son be­fore the coach­ing change. The Browns gave up 33 sacks in the first half of the sea­son and only five in the se­cond half.

“We are thrilled to an­nounce Fred­die Kitchens as the new head coach of the Cleve­land Browns,” team own­ers Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a state­ment. “He did an out­stand­ing job in his role as co­or­di­na­tor, and we know that will con­tinue as he steps into the role of head coach.

“Fred­die demon­strated all of the qual­i­ties that you want in some­one who is lead­ing your or­ga­ni­za­tion. He has un­ques­tioned lead­er­ship. He is a man of in­tegrity. He fos­ters a col­lab­o­ra­tive en­vi­ron­ment. He gets the most out of his play­ers and our play­ers loved play­ing for him. We are happy to have him lead­ing the Cleve­land Browns go­ing for­ward.”

Kitchens is the fourth head coach hired since Jimmy Haslam bought the Browns in 2012. Haslam in­her­ited Pat Shur­mur and fired him af­ter the 2012 sea­son. Rob Chudzin­ski was fired af­ter one sea­son when the Browns lost their last seven games in 2013 to fin­ish 4-12. Mike Pet­tine lasted two sea­sons and was 10-22. Hue Jack­son was fired mid­way through the 2018 sea­son and fin­ished 3-36-1

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