Browns fire Freddie Kitchens following 6-10 season

Haslams to begin search for their fifth head coach

Daryl Ruiter
December 29, 2019 - 8:07 pm
Freddie Kitchens Cleveland Browns

(Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)

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CINCINNATI, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Following an embarrassing 33-23 loss to the 2-14 Cincinnati Bengals, Freddie Kitchens was confident he was heading to work on Monday to continue as head coach of the Cleveland Browns

He will not.

Kitchens was fired after one season shortly after the team arrived back in Cleveland Sunday night from Cincinnati.

“I would like to thank Freddie for his dedication and efforts this past season,” general manager John Dorsey said in a statement. “We are disappointed in our results and feel a change is necessary. Freddie is a good man and good football coach. We wish he and his family nothing but success.”

Owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam will now embark on their fifth coaching search since acquiring the team in 2012.

“We thank Freddie for his hard work and commitment to this organization but did not see the success or opportunities for improvement to move forward with him as our head coach,” the Haslams said in a statement. “Our focus is on hiring an exceptional leader for this football team and we will take a comprehensive approach to this process. We are excited about the core players we have to build around and develop and we look forward to bringing in a strong head coach that will put this group of players in the best position to succeed.”

Kitchens joins Rob Chudzinski, who went 4-12 in 2013, in the one-and-done club under the Haslam’s stewardship.

Pat Shurmur was fired at the end of the 2012 season after the Haslams purchased the Browns from the Lerner family and he was replaced by Chudzinski. Mike Pettine went 10-22 over two seasons before being replaced by Hue Jackson, who went 3-36-1 during a complete roster gut and was dismissed midway through his third year. Interim coach Greg Williams was not retained after a 5-3 finish in 2018.

Kitchens was hired on Jan. 9, 2019.

That 5-3 finish with Kitchens calling plays plus the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. led many to believe the Browns were a powder keg offensively that was going to explode this year.

It never happened.

The Browns started the season 2-6 and a three-game win streak in November appeared to stabilize things but the Browns lost their final three games of the season. 

Quarterback Baker Mayfield regressed significantly, as did the offense, in 2019.

Despite starting three more games this season, Mayfield threw for 177 fewer yards, five fewer touchdowns and he threw seven more interceptions than he did his rookie season.

Kitchens looked like a rookie head coach almost on a weekly basis.

Discipline, attention to detail, clock and game management were lacking regularly.

The lack of discipline resulted in Myles Garrett losing his cool Nov. 14 in a 21-7 win over the Steelers that saw him rip Mason Rudolph’s helmet off and hit the Steelers quarterback in the head with it. Garrett will have to apply for reinstatement this offseason and his loss caused Cleveland’s defensive pass rush vanish over the final six games of the season.

Then there were the losses – 10 of them in total that included Denver Broncos backup quarterback Brandon Allen, Steelers third string QB and training camp arm Devlin "Duck" Hodges, the Arizona Cardinals and then the two-win Bengals.

Fewer wins, more losses and regression everywhere meant another coaching change.

As difficult as it was for the Haslams to do, they didn’t have much choice.