Browns New Coach Freddie Kitchens: “We’re Going to Win”
CLEVELAND (AP) — Freddie Kitchens didn't have the most sparkling resume. He wasn't the smartest candidate, the best dresser or most eloquent speaker.
None of that mattered to the Browns.
"I know that I'm not a popular choice," Kitchens said. "I understand that and I don't care."
That self-confidence is one of the reasons the Browns chose Kitchens to be their 17th full-time coach, one with no previous head coaching experience but with a unique gift for connecting with players and people.
"I believe that they made the best decision," Kitchens said, "They had confidence enough in me that I would figure it out and I'd get the job done. And I promise you this: I won't let them down."
The 44-year-old Kitchens, who began last season as Cleveland's running backs coach, was introduced Monday at a news conference inside FirstEnergy Stadium, which was blanked in a few inches of snow. Dressed in a sport coat, orange tie and Browns cap, Kitchens formally met a fan base that fell for him after his eight-week run as the team's offensive coordinator.
Kitchens inherited Cleveland's offense midway through the season and helped the Browns win five of their last eight games and finish 7-8-1 after going winless in 2017.
General manager John Dorsey said the team's search committee spent weeks discussing other candidates, including former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and others, but the conversation always came back to Kitchens.
The affable Alabamian, who spent 11 seasons as an assistant in Arizona, said every decision he makes will be based on winning a Super Bowl with the Browns.
"There's not but one team that's happy in this league," he said. "If you're happy we finished, 'We made the playoffs,' well, hell, that's not my goal. I've been to the playoffs, I've been to the Super Bowl and I lost the Super Bowl. That was the most-gut wrenching thing I've ever dealt with in my life. And that's what drives me every day, is to get back there and win it."
Kitchens has assembled much of his staff, adding former Arizona coach Steve Wilks as his defensive coordinator and Todd Monken as offensive coordinator. However, Kitchens said he will continue to call plays.