The Browns have found their man to be their permanent coach, and he's a familiar face. And he's ready "roll."
Offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens was named Cleveland's head coach Saturday, and it didn't take him long to address Browns fans directly, speaking to them on Twitter: "Dawg Pound ... I'm your new head coach, Freddie Kitchens. Let's roll."
Kitchens was promoted to offensive coordinator midway through the season after coach Hue Jackson and OC Todd Haley were fired. Kitchens will be introduced as the Browns' head coach at a news conference Monday in Cleveland. Terms of Kitchens' contract were not released.
In the eight games as offensive coordinator, he was responsible for further developing quarterback Baker Mayfield. Under Kitchens, Mayfield went 5-3, completing 68.4 percent of his passes with 19 touchdowns, eight interceptions and five sacks. It's a stark difference from Mayfield's games under Haley, in which he was 1-4 as a starter and completed 58.3 percent with eight touchdowns, six interceptions and 20 sacks.
Because of the Browns' improved performance in the second half of the season, they finished 7-8-1, their best record since 2007.
“It was great working with and learning from Freddie last year," Mayfield said, per the Browns' website. "He has such a creative mind. He creates mismatches and just put guys in position to take advantage of their opportunities. He puts trusts in us as players. He’s the same guy every day. I’m really excited about 2019 and the future of the Cleveland Browns.”
Kitchens was one of several candidates to interview for the job, including Vikings interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, Saints assistant head coach/tight ends coach Dan Campbell and former Colts and Lions coach Jim Caldwell. Kitchens' hiring makes him the ninth full-time coach with the Browns since 1999 and 11th including interim coaches.
Interim head coach and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was relieved of his duties, according to ESPN.