Freddie Kitchens‘ in-season promotion turned out to be a key move for the Browns, with Baker Mayfield‘s rookie year gaining steam under Cleveland’s rookie offensive coordinator. The Browns appear to be interested in keeping that setup intact.
Other teams have reached out about Kitchens OC interviews, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) the Browns have blocked those. Since Kitchens remains under contract, the team is permitted to do so. The Browns want their new head coach to have the opportunity to keep Kitchens on as full-time OC, per Rapsheet. Additionally, Kitchens himself will interview for Cleveland’s top job early next week.
While this could end up being disadvantageous for Kitchens, since it’s uncertain if the new Cleveland HC has Kitchens in his plans, it shows the Browns are serious about continuing the Kitchens-Mayfield setup. Prior to the ousters of Hue Jackson and Todd Haley, Kitchens had not called plays before. Mayfield thrived, becoming a legit Offensive Rookie of the Year frontrunner, once the change occurred. The Browns closed the season 5-3 under Gregg Williams.
Williams already interviewed for the Browns’ HC job, and John Dorsey said a Kitchens meeting for this vacancy was on tap. Though, the second-year GM did not say when that would commence. The Browns may be eyeing Kitchens for a promotion to full-time OC rather than their next head coach. Kitchens, 44, spent 11 seasons as a Cardinals position coach prior to joining the Browns’ staff in 2018.
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