NFL

Cleveland Browns: Have Their Best Players Already Given Up on Freddie Kitchens?

It has been nothing short of a disappointing season for the Cleveland Browns that has seen them fall well below the hefty expectations that were placed in front of them. These struggles, coupled with internal issues, have brought questions concerning first-year head coach Freddie Kitchen’s long-term future with the franchise. It has also brought into the light whether the players are still fully committed behind Kitchens, which recent events suggest that may not be the case anymore.

Browns’ failed hype

In the months leading into the 2019 season, there was plenty of hype around the Browns becoming one of the top teams in the league.

However, that hasn’t remotely been the case despite possessing an extremely talented roster. Cleveland has fallen out of the mix for the playoffs while falling to another year that won’t reach the .500 mark, which made them the only team in the last decade to not reach that feat once.

The hope was that their first-year head coach would find some headway, especially since he had established a strong rapport with quarterback Baker Mayfield last season. The team has instead continued to move in reverse, with their offensive production being well below what the team anticipated.

All of this has led to several players making their sentiment felt concerning their belief in the franchise under Kitchens.

Multiple players asking to be traded

The chatter around the Browns hit another level last week after reports revealed that star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. had been telling opposing teams this season to get him.

That was sparked by Beckham Jr. voicing that he had no idea what laid ahead of him with the Browns after this season. The star wideout and the team have quieted things on that front over the last several days. But that was ratcheted up a notch on Monday as Michael Silver of Sports Illustrated revealed that several other players, including Jarvis Landry, had yelled to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday to acquire them.

There has been some backlash to this report by Silver, but it’s hard to push back entirely, given how things have unfolded with Beckham Jr. The Browns are clouded with dysfunction that has put the franchise back into familiar-frustrating territory. More than anything else, it speaks to the team not being fully committed to playing under Kitchens. 

Beyond that, it puts some significant doubt around his long-term future in Cleveland.

What lies ahead of Freddie Kitchens

When the Browns decided to hire Kitchens as the head coach, the team knew it was a considerable risk, given his lack of experience in the position. There was no certainty that it was going to work out, but rather going off the success he had working alongside Mayfield last season after he took over as the offensive coordinator.

Things have continued to unravel as the season has worn on as Kitchens has made several mistakes with how he’s handled the situation. Meanwhile, the team’s utter lack of success on the field despite their talented roster is concerning. Cleveland has assembled an extremely promising unit of talent offensively with the likes of Beckham Jr., Landry, Mayfield, Nick Chubb, David Njoku, and Kareem Hunt that were supposed to make them one of the top-scoring teams in the league.

Instead, their offense has had many hiccups while they have struggled to properly utilize their premiere offensive factors in Beckham Jr. and Landry. The Browns are in a tough situation that may see moving on from Kitchens is the move to make to push the franchise in the right direction of being a legitimate playoff contender and much more.