To this point, the Browns have met with interim coach Gregg Williams, offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens, former Indianapolis and Detroit coach Jim Caldwell, Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, Saints tight ends coach Dan Campbell, Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. He took over the Browns offense when coordinator Todd Haley was sacked an hour after coach Hue Jackson's dismissal on October 29 and Kitchens quickly showed he had coaching chops.
The 44-year-old Alabama native has an interesting past.
It's hard to suss out how much of that was due to Kitchens and how much was due to (a) Mayfield coming into his own after reliving Tyrod Taylor in Week 3 and getting his first start in Week 4; and (b) the front office's decision to trade Carlos Hyde, which thrust Chubb into the lineup.
The Browns finished the season with a 7-8-1 record.
And yet, it's becoming more and more obvious that Kitchens was not the Browns' first choice at the outset of their coaching search.
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As the team's success grew, Kitchens never campaigned to be Cleveland's coach but leading a team was always a goal.
He made the Browns better Under Kitchens, the Browns offense improved greatly.
Kitchens will be the 11th head coach - counting interim coaches - since the Browns returned to Cleveland in 1999. I am humbled to have worked for such a storied franchise and will always love the city of Cleveland, this city deserves a victor! In eight games under Kitchens, Mayfield completed 68.4 percent of his passes for 2,254 yards, 19 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
Kitchens and Mayfield also formed a close bond, something none of the other candidates could claim when they sat in front of Dorsey and Haslam. One name that could return is special teams coordinator Amos Jones, who spent time with Kitchens in Arizona on the Cardinals.
The Browns think so much of Kitchens that they blocked other teams from interviewing him.