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The 5 things you need to know about new Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens

Alabama V Tennessee
Posted at 2:19 PM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 16:28:17-05

CLEVELAND — By now Freddie Kitchens is a familiar name to Browns fans because of how well the team and Baker Mayfield played when he took over the offense. What's not as well-known is pretty much anything else about the Browns' new head coach, who started the season in relative obscurity as an assistant under Hue Jackson.

RELATED: Cleveland Browns hire Freddie Kitchens as head coach

Here are 5 things you should know about the new Browns coach:

1. He made the Browns better
Under Kitchens, the Browns offense improved greatly. His play-calling energized Mayfield, who finished with a rookie record 27 touchdown passes, with 19 of those coming when Kitchens was calling the plays. The Browns surrendered just five sacks during the second half of the season compared to 33 in the first half, which is the lowest of any team in the league.

2. He was a star quarterback
Kitchens was a star quarterback in high school, winning Alabama's "Mr. Football" his senior season. He then went on to quarterback the Alabama Crimson Tide.

26 Oct 1996: Quarterback Freddie Kitchenes #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide scans the defense for an open receiver as he drops back to pass during a play in the Crimson Tide's 20-13 loss to the Tennessee Volunteers at Nyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee
26 Oct 1996: Quarterback Freddie Kitchenes #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide scans the defense for an open receiver as he drops back to pass during a play in the Crimson Tide's 20-13 loss to the Tennessee Volunteers at Nyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee

One of his biggest highlights came in the 1996 Iron Bowl when he threw a game-winning touchdown pass against rival Auburn.

3. He got a second chance at life
In 2013, Kitchens talked about how he underwent emergency heart surgery to repair a defective aorta after experiencing dizziness and light-headed feelings. “I always felt like I lived life every day like it could be your last, but what an incident like that makes you realize and thankful for are the friends that you have,” Kitchens told the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram in November.

4. He's a quarterback whisperer
Kitchens worked closely with Carson Palmer in Arizona, serving as a tight ends and quarterbacks coach. While working in Arizona, Palmer set team records for passing yards (4,671) and touchdown passes (35) in a season.

5. He has always wanted to be a coach
Kitchens revealed last month that his goal has always been to become an NFL head coach. And he likes Cleveland, to boot. “I like it here a lot, and everybody around here knows that I like it here,” Kitchens told Ohio.com. “I love the town of Cleveland. Cleveland and I get along well.”

And that's not all.

NFL Films produced a short feature on Kitchens last year, when he was with the Cardinals, calling him "The most selfless man in the NFL." You can watch it here.

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BROWNS 2020 SCHEDULE

Preseason

WEEK 1 · Aug. 13-17 · At Chicago Bears - CANCELED

WEEK 2 · Aug. 20-24 · At Green Bay Packers - CANCELED

WEEK 3 · Aug. 30 · Minnesota Vikings - CANCELED

WEEK 4 · Sep. 3-4 · Tampa Bay Buccaneers - CANCELED

Regular Season

WEEK 1 · Sun 9/13 · 1:00 PM EST at Baltimore Ravens (CBS)

WEEK 2 · Thu 9/17 · 8:20 PM EST Cincinnati Bengals (NFL Network)

WEEK 3 · Sun 9/27 · 1:00 PM EST Washington Football Team (FOX)

WEEK 4 · Sun 10/4 · 1:00 PM EST at Dallas Cowboys (FOX)

WEEK 5 · Sun 10/11 · 4:25 PM EST Indianapolis Colts (CBS)

WEEK 6 · Sun 10/18 · 1:00 PM EST at Pittsburgh Steelers (CBS)

WEEK 7 · Sun 10/25 · 1:00 PM EST at Cincinnati Bengals (CBS)

WEEK 8 · Sun 11/1 · 1:00 PM EST Las Vegas Raiders (FOX)

WEEK 9 · BYE

WEEK 10 · Sun 11/15 · 1:00 PM EST Houston Texans (FOX)

WEEK 11 · Sun 11/22 · 1:00 PM EST Philadelphia Eagles (FOX)

WEEK 12 · Sun 11/29 · 1:00 PM EST at Jacksonville Jaguars (CBS)

WEEK 13 · Sun 12/6 · 1:00 PM EST at Tennessee Titans (CBS)

WEEK 14 · Mon 12/14 · 8:15 PM EST Baltimore Ravens (ESPN)

WEEK 15 · Sun 12/20 · 1:00 PM EST at New York Giants (CBS)

WEEK 16 · Dec. 27-27 · TBD at New York Jets

WEEK 17 · Sun 1/3 · 1:00 PM EST Pittsburgh Steelers (CBS)