BEREA, Ohio — After losing to the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, ending the season with a disappointing 6-10 record, the Cleveland Browns have fired head coach Freddie Kitchens, the team announced Sunday evening.
Kitchens was named head coach on Jan. 12 after serving as the team’s offensive coordinator in the 2018 season.
When the Browns fired former head coach Hue Jackson after his three seasons with a 3-36-1 record, Kitchens was appointed to the offensive coordinator position where he helped the team turn the season around. Under Kitchens in 2018, the Browns’ offense improved, averaging more than 395 yards per game, executing almost perfectly in the red zone and finishing with a 5-3 record over the final eight games. His impressive execution as the offensive coordinator, as well as his good relationship with quarterback Baker Mayfield, helped win him the job of head coach following that season.
Questions surrounding Kitchens’ competence as a head coach came into question after several weeks of strange play-calling and decision-making in crucial moments, as well as the team's lack of discipline.
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Kitchen’s jarring performance in Sunday’s game against the Bengals was apparently the final straw for the Browns organization. The Browns ran for just 74 yards against the worst run defense in the league. Nick Chubb had just 13 carries and Kareem Hunt had just three. The Bengals ran for 179 yards on 39 carries.
General Manager John Dorsey issued the following statement regarding Kitchens' firing:
I would like to thank Freddie for his dedication and efforts this past season. We are disappointed in our results and feel a change is necessary. Freddie is a good man and good football coach. We wish he and his family nothing but success.
Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam also issued a statement on the firing:
We thank Freddie for his hard work and commitment to this organization but did not see the success or opportunities for improvement to move forward with him as our head coach. Our focus is on hiring an exceptional leader for this football team and we will take a comprehensive approach to this process. We are excited about the core players we have to build around and develop and we look forward to bringing in a strong head coach that will put this group of players in the best position to succeed.
The Browns will now begin the search for their 10th full-time head coach since 1999.
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Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.