NFL

Why the Browns Had to Fire Freddie Kitchens

The Cleveland Browns have just wrapped up a disappointing 2019 season that saw them fall well out of the playoff picture. It had created an enormous amount of speculation that the team could part ways with the head coach Freddie Kitchens after just one year with the team. Following Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Browns have officially let go of Kitchens, which is a move that the franchise needed to make to begin moving forward in the right direction.

The Browns part ways with Freddie Kitchens

In the months leading into the 2019 campaign, the Browns had been one of the most-hyped teams around the league. Cleveland was coming off an encouraging season, where they took some notable steps forward with their play that resulted in a 7-9 record.

That, coupled with an active offseason that was headlined by the additions of Pro Bowlers Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, and Kareem Hunt, all pushed forth more optimism. But that didn’t equate to success this year, falling to a 6-10 while missing the playoffs yet again.

That had built some tremendous outside noise that Kitchens could be done after one year, and the team elected to indeed go that route after embarrassing regular-season finale loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. It was a move that the organization felt it needed to make, and it should wind up being the right one.

Browns had toxic environment building under Freddie Kitchens

The writing had been on the wall for Kitchens’ departure for the last several weeks. Beyond the team’s lack of success, there were some telling signs that he had already lost control of the team.

The hope was that his budding chemistry with second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield would lead to a more potent offense in 2019, but that fell well short in that area ranking 23rd in passing, 24th in passing touchdowns, and 22nd with 20.8 points per contest. The lack of offensive success quickly turned things south for the Browns with their play as it led to much internal turmoil.

That foreseeably led to reports that players were growing disgruntled to the point that stories began to emerge that their star wide receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry had told opposing teams that they wanted out of Cleveland. It was evident that a toxic environment had been created under Kitchens, and wasn’t able to extinguish it by any means leading to a cloudy future ahead of the franchise.

These concerning developments only made the decision to part ways with Kitchens the most reasonable decision to make to get the franchise back in the right direction.

Browns must take a thorough approach to head coaching search

With the Browns finally pulling the band-aid off by firing Kitchens, it puts them in the pool early to find their next head coach.

The move helps that get an early jump with several viable candidates already out there. That will begin with coaches with recent head coaching experience, such as Ron Rivera, Mike McCarthy, Marvin Lewis, and Jim Caldwell. Other names will draw interest from the assistant coaching ranks, such as Josh McDaniels, Eric Bieniemy, and Greg Roman.

Rivera will likely be at the top of a lot of team’s wish list with the Washington Redskins already set to meet with him on Monday. The Browns have been a dysfunctional franchise over the years, but they have some promising talent on the roster on both sides of the ball, with Beckham Jr., Landry, Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Myles Garrett, and Denzel Ward.

With the Browns turning over their fifth head coach since 2013, the organization should conduct a thorough search to bring in the right coach, who can finally get them back into the playoffs and much further.