Hue Jackson has been on the hot seat the whole season so it was only a question of when would he be fired? The answer was after the Pittsburgh Steelers game. It seems to be a trend. The last five Browns head coaches were all fired after a loss to the Steel Curtain.
The firing of Hue Jackson shouldn’t have surprised anyone if you have been watching this season unravel. I was caught more off guard by the news of OC Todd Haley’s firing, too. I was certain Haley would stay on to take over head coaching duties and maintain the offensive coordinator responsibilities as well.
Boy, was I wrong.
Owner Jimmy Haslem stated that internal discord will not be tolerated and both coaches have been let go.
On a more positive note, the organization decided to keep Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams on board and even promoted him to interim head coach for the rest of 2018. I loved this decision, but I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to the already struggling offense? Who was going to replace the two offensive minds we just lost?
Freddie Kitchens, the running backs coach.
Who? Yeah, I thought the same thing. Kitchens has been nothing more than a running backs, tight end or quarterback coach and the Browns are handing him the keys to the offense. What’s the worse that can happen? We were trending down and can only go up from there.
Freddie worked in Arizona from 2007-2017 and more importantly worked in Todd Haley’s offense in 2007 and 2008. This is good considering Kitchens has gone on record stating that the Cleveland Browns will run the same offensive system that Haley put in place. Kitchen’s focus will be on the development of the quarterback and overall growth of the team.
“We want all of our players to see growth, from everything to the line to the receivers to the backs and of course the quarterback.”
Saying it is one thing, but doing it is another.
I’ll admit – I had my doubts, but I am impressed with Freddie Kitchens after his very first game calling plays. I think he put Baker Mayfield in positions to succeed. Baker was taking a lot of abuse standing behind center and it looked like the game plan was to get him out the pocket more to stay on his feet and prevent him from taking so many hits.
Kitchens added some easy reads for Baker.
Mayfield got the ball out fast hitting David Njoku over the middle multiple times and I swear for the first time this season the Browns ran a quick slant resulting in a catch by Antonio Callaway for nine yards. Those five-yard, dink and dunk plays were our bread and butter. Mayfield was only sacked twice the whole game and put together a great two-minute drill before halftime.
There are definitely some positives to take away from this game. For two-plus seasons, Hue Jackson pledged to get Duke Johnson more involved and Freddie Kitchens did it in one game. Duke caught nine passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns, all team highs. Not to mention, that Jarvis Landry, Njoku and Callaway all reached 50 yards. All the receivers got some love all while Nick Chubb got 22 carries.
Point being is that Freddie Kitchens proved in one game how to use your playmakers and he called a decent game overall. This could be a good sign of things to come for the rest of the season. Kitchens may not remain with the team when the season concludes, but he should be good for the development of this team.