Report: Freddie Kitchens to be Cleveland Browns next head coach

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CLEVELAND (AP/CBS Sports) -- An Associated Press report says Cleveland Browns will hire offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens as head coach.

Knoxville businessman and Pilot Flying J CEO is the owners of the Cleveland NFL franchise.

Kitchens was one of several candidates to interview for the job, and in recent days it became clear that he was an inner-circle candidate along with Minnesota Vikings interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. It appears he did enough to impress the front-office tandem of John Dorsey and Paul DePodesta and will come away with the job.

Kitchens served as the Browns' offensive coordinator from Week 9 on this past season, and oversaw improvement in the team's offense, sparked by increased reliance on Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb.

Kitchens himself was a quarterback at Alabama in the early-to-mid 1990s, and at the time of his departure he ranked fourth in the school's history in in passing yards. He spent several years as a position coach in college before becoming the Cowboys' tight ends coach in 2006. He was then hired by Ken Whisenhunt to coach the same position with the Cardinals in 2007, eventually got promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2013 when Bruce Arians took over, moved to running backs coach in 2017, and joined the Browns for the 2018 season.

Kitchens will now be tasked with overseeing the development of Mayfield, who looks like he has the potential to be one of the league's best quarterbacks. The Browns have a strong offensive line, plus Chubb and tight end David Njoku as strong offensive weapons, but need to fill out their wide receiver corps around Jarvis Landry. The team's defense has a few stars or potential stars as well in Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, and Larry Ogunjobi, and it will be interesting to see who Kitchens taps as his defensive coordinator because that coach will get to work with some high-end talent. The future is as bright for the Browns as it has been in a very long time, and Kitchens is apparently the man the front office thinks can get the most out of this group.