Latest On Browns’ HC Job

As they advance to the finalist stage of their coaching search, the Browns appear to be zeroing in on young play-callers.

Kevin Stefanski is headed back to Cleveland for a second interview, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports (on Twitter). The coach who took over the Vikings’ play-calling responsibilities late in the season may be competing with Freddie Kitchens, who ascended to this role in Cleveland.

Kitchens now has a “good chance” of landing the Browns’ HC job, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The Browns interviewed Kitchens on Monday and have been making calls to inquire about his coaching past, Ian Rapoport of tweets.

These are the two finalists for the position, Ian Rapoport of tweets. As Stefanski heads back to Cleveland, Kitchens remains in the Browns’ building.

While the Browns are eyeing Stefanski for their HC job, he remains a leading candidate to stay on with the Vikings as OC, Tom Pelissero of tweets. However, Stefanski is a coaching free agent after his contract recently expired.

Several Browns assistants have already been asked to stay on board, Cabot reports, which would back the idea the 44-year-old Kitchens will receive a major promotion. Neither Kitchens nor Stefanski had OC experience heading into 2018. The Browns appear to be serious about pairing Baker Mayfield with a young, offensively oriented leader.

Stefanski, 36, interviewed for the Browns’ HC vacancy on Jan. 3. He is the youngest candidate involved in the John Dorsey-led search. This comes after he was passed over for the Vikings’ OC job a year ago for former Browns OC John DeFilippo. But Minnesota fired the latter late this season, and Stefanski is competing with Kitchens and perhaps others for the Cleveland job.

The Browns blocked Kitchens from pursuing offensive coordinator jobs outside the organization. It looks like he has a real shot to continue to work with Mayfield, which is not necessarily a big surprise given the rookie passer’s success after the Browns fired Hue Jackson and Todd Haley. Kitchens receiving the HC job may point to Gregg Williams staying on, though it would be an altered dynamic given the 60-year-old interim leader’s previous role as Kitchens’ boss.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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23 comments on “Latest On Browns’ HC Job

    • Michael Chaney

      I assume you’re not a Browns fan and didn’t watch the games after he took over. The offense looked completely different when Freddie became OC.

    • Michael Chaney

      If you’re picking between two guys without a ton of experience, pick the one you’re familiar with and the one who your young QB knows.

  1. playicy

    Hire kitchens if u don’t want him to leave but not then find someone who can turn ur franchise from a loser into a winner

  2. jb19

    Makes me think the second interview with Stefanski is not for the head coach position, perhaps offensive coordinator or assistant head coach… would you rather be in Cleveland or Minnesota the next couple years as an OC? Baker or Cousins?

    • jb19

      Now that I think about it some more, it’s Baker for a guaranteed 4 more years or cousins for another 2 guaranteed years.

      • Steven Juris

        Considering that Zimmer has one year left on his contract not sure if Minn is stable.

    • Hannibal8us

      It doesn’t sound like the Vikes want Stefanski back as OC, so it’s quite likely it’s the Browns OC job he’s looking at.

    • Michael Chaney

      I didn’t think about this, but if it could realistically happen I’d definitely be in favor of it — I’m just not sure if Stefanski would get play-calling duties since that’s a big part of Freddie’s appeal. Cleveland is probably a better spot in a vacuum, but if he could call plays in Minnesota (or anywhere else) that’s probably better for him personally.

      They’d still need an experienced assistant (preferably a DC) to help a first-time coach learn, but I’m assuming Gregg Williams is gone if he doesn’t get the head coaching gig.

  3. Thronson5

    This is the job I’m most curious about. With the right coach I think this team is a playoff team..with the wrong coach they could end up taking a step backwards. Hopefully they figure it out because it would be exciting to see them turn things around like it looked like they were doing once Hue got canned.

  4. Chris

    Given the Browns just reached some resemblance of franchise stability I’d think about keeping GW before hiring some young guy that’s never been a head coach before. Could be a quick and precipitous fall to obscurity if this hiring fails

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