When Freddie Kitchens takes the field at 10 a.m. Thursday morning at the Cleveland Browns training complex in Berea, Ohio, he’ll check something off his bucket list. Kitchens will be in charge of an NFL training camp as a head coach. He is ready to get to work, not be buddies with his players
“If you’re not going to jump out of the airplane — don’t put the parachute on. And I want people that will put the parachute on.” — HC Freddie Kitchens pic.twitter.com/fOgA4jLs0L
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) July 24, 2019
“I am not trying to be friends with anybody,” Kitchens said. “I’m trying to get them better and do my role in that. I do not care if they like me, I just want to get them better because they will respect that in the long run.”
The Browns have received a lot of hype this off season. Coming off their best season in 12 years, expectations are high. The roster is talented on paper, can Kitchens translate that to the football field.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) July 24, 2019
“Right now, we are just a bunch of good players – a bunch of individuals. I will bring it up tonight again when we meet with the players for the first time. Until we do something, that is all we are is a bunch of good players,” Kitchens said. “This is the only business in the world that you hire 90 guys to fire half of them. We are not the Cleveland Browns yet. We are a bunch of individuals trying to get jobs. In the course of getting jobs, you see who is going to be able to come together and create the Cleveland Browns. When we walk out onto that field, we want everyone to be proud of the product that is out there.”
Kitchens wants the Browns to be physical. In previous camps, physicality has not been emphasized. That is going to change in 2019.
Freddie Kitchens: "We will practice being physical."
— Andrew Gribble (@Andrew_Gribble) July 24, 2019
“Somebody asked me a long time ago what I looked for in a football team and part of what I am looking for in a football team is to be the most physical football team on the field. You create that with the way you practice, the way you go about your business from the meeting room to the practice field, and then once you get on the practice field, you have to practice being physical. We will practice being physical.”
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— Jeff Schudel (@jsproinsider) July 24, 2019
How about facing adversity? The Browns schedule is not easy the first half the season. What will the rookie head coach do if his team gets off to a slow start?
“We will take the adversity as it comes, but I am looking forward to the first time that we see adversity because then and only then will we determine what kind of football team we have. You have to face it, and you are going to face it,” Kitchens said. “I do not know when it can be. For some teams, it happens in the Super Bowl. New England Patriots went 19-0 and went to the Super Bowl. They faced adversity in the Super Bowl. I do not know when it is going to happen nor do I care, but I am looking forward in getting to that point and seeing how our team reacts.”
“When it comes to GameDay I’ll be calling plays.” #Browns Freddie Kitchens
— BrownsAccess (@BrownsAccess) July 24, 2019
Kitchens took control of the offense half way through last season. He will call the plays despite hiring Todd Monken as his offensive coordinator. There have been reports of some tension during the off season program. Kitchens denies any friction between the two.
“I do not know where they get that from,” Kitchens said. “I do not know what is different than we would have expected to begin with. I’m not trying to throw your question off, but I did not know that we have any problems, and we do not [have any problems].”
So how about his coaching staff as a whole? Any issues as training camp begins?
“I am very, very, very, very pleased with the coordinators I hired, the position coaches I hired and the quality control guys I hired. I can not be happier with who I hired. They were all hired for a specific reason. I am very happy with the job that Todd Monken is doing. He is exactly what I signed for, and I am assuming I am exactly what he signed up for. There is never a surprise with me. I promise you that you are going to be told exactly what is expected, and Todd is the same way. He has the same mindset as me. That is why he is here. We have the same mindset. There is no surprise. I do not know where that came from. I think that is summer talk.”
Summer vacation is over for Kitchens and the Browns. It’s time to get back to work and get the Browns back to winning football.