CLEVELAND

Does Freddie Kitchens Have What It Takes? A Skeptic’s Point of View

How well Freddie Kitchens handles various egos, among high expectations from fans, will determine how far this Browns team can go.

Photo Courtesy of Ron Schwane/AP

Freddie Kitchens has no head coaching experience in the NFL, although he may have one of the hardest jobs in the NFL this season.

I’m a firm believer that Kitchens was given the job over other candidates because the Browns were afraid to lose his play-calling ability. That was a valid fear. There were plenty of abysmal teams willing to give him the keys to the kingdom in a heartbeat. This decision may seem like a no-brainer at first, but there are other factors that I think a lot of guys glanced over.

Before becoming the Offensive coordinator following the dismissal of Hue Jackson and Todd Haley, Kitchens was the running backs coach. He was in a smaller role that he thrived in. He was able to make a personal relationship with players in that role. He wasn’t responsible for managing egos, and he wasn’t holding much responsibility for failures.

Now, Kitchens assumes the Head Coaching role of a team with real expectations and tons of egos. Kitchens has no experience, at any level, dealing with that kind of pressure. He may be a great play-caller, but I’m not sold that Kitchens is going to be an elite coach. Running the plays on the field is only one part of the equation. If the locker room isn’t right, things could go south quickly. What if the Browns drop the opener to the Titans (They haven’t won an opener since 2004) and then lose again to the Rams? Then what? How will he deal with Baker barking about the losses and OBJ doing his thing?

At the end of the day, I’m not saying Kitchens can’t be a successful coach. I want him to be more than anybody, but there’s more to the situation than meets the eye.

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