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Volume 26 No. 65
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Browns' Hire Of Kitchens Seen As Worthy Gamble For Ascending Team

Kitchens will report directly to GM John Dorsey, which is a departure from the past for the Browns

The Browns named offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens their new coach, and the choice "fits with the personality" of GM John Dorsey, who is a "risk-taker," according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Pluto writes some observers say Dorsey "'goes by his gut,' but I don't buy that." Dorsey "does his homework" and then "makes his big decisions on what he and his front office think -- not what is conventional NFL thinking or what is favored by the media." Kitchens has never been a head coach, but Dorsey "didn't hold the inexperience" against him. It is "critical the new head coach is willing to work together with the strong front office assembled by Dorsey" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 1/10). In Cleveland, Mary Kay Cabot cites a source as saying that Kitchens will "report directly" to Dorsey, which is a "departure from the past." Former coach Hue Jackson reported directly to Browns co-Owner Jimmy Haslam, "as does Dorsey" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 1/10).

WORTHY GAMBLE: In Cleveland, Dan Labbe writes Dorsey and the Browns "appeared to stumble onto the type of candidate they were looking for" in Kitchens. Labbe: "Is this organization finally in a place where they can look at a man like Kitchens and decide they have the pieces in place to take that gamble? You bet." Kitchens "found himself in the right place at the right time and the Browns found the right man to lead them into this new era." Kitchens brings the type of "aggressive approach Browns fans long to see in all areas of their team, not just on offense." It is the "type of mentality Dorsey has to love." Kitchens has "some of that flair and ... probably has some of the analytics sway required of the head coaching position" in '19 (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 1/10). In Toledo, David Briggs writes the Kitchens hire "may seem like too happy of an accident, a head-over-heels-fling-turned-shotgun-marriage." Briggs: "Is Kitchens a overreach? Maybe. A huge gamble? Definitely." But in a league "short on imagination and long on retreads ... it is a worthy one" (Toledo BLADE, 1/10). NFL Network's Kyle Brandt said the "man I trust more than anything in Cleveland" is Dorsey, who drafted Mayfield. He "deserves to be given the respect for making this choice." Brandt: "If J.D. is good with it and said, 'I want Kitchens here,' there's nothing to say about it" ("Good Morning Football," NFL Network, 1/10). But Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio said Kitchens "isn't the kind of inspired hire that I thought the Browns could make and should make to instantly become Super Bowl contenders." Florio: "This was the most attractive job out there and they hired a guy that no one else ever wanted to interview to become their head coach" ("PFT," NBCSN, 1/10).

DAWN OF A NEW ERA: In Canton, Steve Doerschuk writes under the header, "Freddie Kitchens' Hire Breaks Browns Mold." No formula the Browns previously used for finding a head coach "has worked." In part, the Browns are "relying on the force" of Kitchens' personality. Everyone who has been around the team "agrees that in the area of communicating, there has been no one quite like Kitchens" (Canton REPOSITORY, 1/10). YAHOO SPORTS' Charles Robinson wrote the move "says a lot about where the Browns are heading and who is calling the shots." If it is '21 and fans are "either celebrating or lamenting Kitchens' hire, it's always good to be able to draw a line to the most responsible parties." In this case, it is going to be Haslam and Dorsey as the "two most directly responsible" (, 1/9). In DC, Mark Maske writes in hiring Kitchens, the Browns are "acknowledging that whatever is best for Mayfield will be best for the organization as a whole going forward." Being coach of the Browns is a "very good job to have right now," as the rebuilding of the team is "going well." They are a "laughingstock no longer." Dorsey has "pushed the right buttons" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/10).