The 2019 season will be the first for Freddie Kitchens as a head coach.
But that doesn’t mean that Kitchens just fell off the feed truck from Alabama yesterday.
Kitchens began his coaching career in 1999 as an offensive assistant at Glenville State University. From there he worked his way to the NFL in 2006 as a tight ends coach with the Dallas Cowboys. He arrived in Arizona the following season as a tight ends coach with the Cardinals, and stayed in the desert until coming to Cleveland in 2018.
After working for almost two decades as a coach, Kitchens has seen just everything imaginable, although he likely has never seen anything like the 2019 Cleveland Browns.
The Browns are a team with big personalities and players built for the social media age - including quarterback Baker Mayfield, wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., and safety Damarious Randall - who are always ready with a sound bite.
Cleveland is also a team with expectations that are higher than they have been since the 1986 season and the focus will only increase as the summer months dissolve into the season opener in September.
Kitchens took the opportunity during his media session on Saturday to remind the players about the need to remain focused on the task at hand, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
“Last year is last year. No two teams are the same. I have said that numerous times. You are not going to pick up where you left off. We are not interested in revisiting last year at all. We were 7-8-1. We didn’t do [anything] last year. We didn’t win anything. We were third in the division. I don’t know where all of this is coming from. Just because the Super Bowl is our goal does not mean that is where we are right now. We are a team just like the other 31 teams, and we are focused on training camp, OTAs, minicamp and getting better when those guys are back in the building.”
Cleveland and the NFL may not have seen a team quite like the 2019 Browns in quite some time. But the Browns have also never had a head coach quite like Kitchens before.
Judging from the way he has handled things so far, it looks like the Browns are going to be in good hands.