Browns Name their Guy
The guessing game is over and the Cleveland Browns have filled their head coaching vacancy – with former offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens. In a monumental rise in the ranks, the former Alabama quarterback went from the team’s running backs coach to head coach in under one year. As previously mentioned, I am good with this move for the franchise. I’m not over the moon about it, but I am also not disappointed or concerned that there was a better option.
Three things I can cite that help Kitchens are his camaraderie with Baker Mayfield, offensive creativity, and his personality. It’s no secret that the new head coach and the Browns’ quarterback got along together as evidenced by mic’d up portions of games this year. The two appear to be on the same page and have a similar mentality (being the underdog – chip on shoulder, etc.), which should be beneficial for both parties. The play calling we saw last season was so refreshing compared to years prior. The full-house backfield, end around runs or passes, and vertical routes are a few of the examples of things fans saw during the 2018 campaign – most of which were successful. I am eager to see what Kitchens will do for an encore, with a full offseason to practice and prepare with the orange and brown. Finally the personality is one that I support and the team does as well. Kitchens has a swagger, rooted in confidence and not concerned about external factors. He mentioned not campaigning for head coaching positions and that he just keeps his head down and works.
I want to thank Gregg Williams for the job he did as interim head coach this past season. He came into a team that was 2-5-1 and one win over the prior two seasons. Finishing the year at 5-3 with some exciting performances gives the team and fanbase hope going forward. There is excitement, energy, and confidence in Cleveland – which has been dormant for nearly thirty years. There was a possibility he could have been given the full time job by John Dorsey – but I can understand his reasoning for going for a younger, offensive-minded guy (which appears to be the new trend). I wish him all the best (unless he faces the Browns) and I know the fans will give him a warm reception.
A pair of guys have agreed to be a part of the 2019 Cleveland Browns. First is the special teams coach Mike Preifer, who takes over for Amos Jones. Preifer, who was born in this great city, comes over from the Vikings (where he was in the same role for eight seasons). It’s a low bar to improve over last seasons output in that department – which included missed kicks, penalties on returns, and poor coverage. He’s no Brad Seely, but I tend to think that Preifer will improve the unit to at least middle of the road (provided the team can improve at kicker) unit and that’s fine for me.
With Gregg Williams being let go, the team needed to acquire a replacement at defensive coordinator. They went with Steve Wilks, who was recently the head coach in Arizona and defensive coach for the Panthers for six seasons. In addition to being a coordinator, Wilks has spent a great amount of time with defensive backs. The Browns already have a solid secondary room with talent, but I would not be surprised to see them take a leap in production in 2019. Like special teams, there is room for improvement for the defense and I like this hire.
Conclusion: As the calendar flips, so do coaches in the NFL. I cannot wait to see what Kitchens and Wilks do for the team and to see what they can take from the 2018 squad and improve upon. Of course free agency and the 2019 draft will be critical and are just around the corner.