I am a Cleveland Browns fan, and I believe this year will be different.
Because after 11 consecutive losing seasons, this team is different. From quarterback Baker Mayfield to pass rush specialist Myles Garrett to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the Browns roster is stockpiled with talent. General manager John Dorsey has proven to be one of the best decision-makers in pro football. The rabid fanbase is re-energized in a way they haven't been since the franchise returned to Cleveland two decades ago. But something else is also different—the coach.
Before taking over as the Browns' offensive coordinator in Week 9 of the 2018 NFL season, Freddie Kitchens was a longtime position coach—and a beloved one, at that—but a guy who'd mostly flown under the radar. The 44-year-old with a northern Alabama drawl invigorated the Browns' offense and helped the team win five of their final seven games. He was formally named head coach shortly thereafter.
I'm naturally biased, but there's just something so refreshingly sensible about Kitchens' coaching style. With that, here are some nuggets of wisdom from the former University of Alabama quarterback.
Some of the Worst Football Coaches are the Loudest
"If you've ever been around a loud coach, one that just screams & yells, listen to what he's saying & see if he's even teaching."
"We have players that need to be taught & we need teachers."
- Freddie Kitchens pic.twitter.com/b0YWdrmSJX
— Coach Dan Casey (@CoachDanCasey) June 23, 2019
"There aren't any bad days, only hard days"
Love that quote
— Brian Kennedy (@Coach_BKennedy) January 19, 2019
One more quote from #Browns HC Freddie Kitchens on @BullandFox earlier: "One of the greatest signs of bravery is asking for help. To me, that's probably the biggest form of being selfish is not asking for help when you won't even admit it to yourself that you need the help."
— Keith Britton (@KeithBritton86) January 18, 2019
Favorite quote from Freddie Kitchens today:
"As coaches, we're teachers. I'm sure you've all had a teacher in your life who's made you a better person. As a coach and a teacher, I'm invested in people. Not players. People."
— AB (@CoachABen) January 14, 2019
"It costs absolutely nothing to be nice" -Freddie Kitchens #quote
— Life Lesson #Quotes (@MGWVhaiku) December 30, 2017
WATCH: Freddie Kitchens, head coach of the Cleveland Browns, made an interesting statement to this weekend's Alabama coaching clinic that Coach Saban shared with his team...
— Alabama Crimson Tide | BamaInsider.com (@bamainsider) April 7, 2019
new @Browns HC Freddie Kitchens: "I grew up the son of a tire maker at Goodyear Tire and Rubber plant in Gadsden, Alabama. Benjamin E. Mays said 'Those who start behind in the game of life must run faster to catch up,' and I feel like I've been running fast my whole life." WSJ
— Roe Frazer (@RoeFrazer) January 10, 2019
#Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens: "Our team looks good on paper. Whoopty hell."
— 92.3 The Fan (@923TheFan) April 1, 2019
"Right now we're just a bunch of good players, a bunch of good individual players....until we do something, that's all we are" - #Browns HC Freddie Kitchens
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) July 24, 2019
And finally, an anecdote on Kitchens. When he was elevated to offensive coordinator mid-way through what had been a disastrous 2018 season for the Browns, he had a novel idea—ask the players what they like to run, then run it.
"In (Kitchens') first meeting with the offense, he said, 'We're gonna be as good as everyone in this room is.' He wanted ideas. He asked the offensive linemen, 'What runs do you guys like?' I'd never seen that before," Browns back-up quarterback Drew Stanton told Pro Football Talk. If a guy who's been in the NFL for nearly a decade and who's spent time with four different pro teams has never seen it, it's uncommon.
When it comes to coaching, common sense isn't always as common as we'd like to believe. Few personify that better than Kitchens.
Photo Credit: Diamond Images/Getty Images
- Why Christian McCaffrey is Training Like a Track Athlete This Offseason
- The Challenge from Urban Meyer That Set Terry McLaurin on the Path to Greatness
- Why Chicago Bears RB David Montgomery Runs So Hard