Count former Cleveland Browns All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas as one who is very excited about the hiring of head coach Freddie Kitchens.
On an appearance with Cleveland Browns Daily Wednesday afternoon, Thomas heaped plenty of praise toward Kitchens and believes the Browns made the decision that was in the best interest of not only rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, but the team as a whole.
“I think the Browns nailed it,” Thomas said. “I give John Dorsey a lot of credit for turning over a lot of stones, but in the end, he came back and hired the guy in-house that they know so much about.
“They know that when they pair him with Baker Mayfield and surround him with that offense and philosophy that Freddie Kitchens has, and they give them five, six, 10-plus years together, there’s going to be a lot of wins in Berea and Cleveland, and that’s going to make people very happy.”
Kitchens, whom has been a popular interview request from other NFL teams, helped the Browns increase their points per game and got solid play out of rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Prior to the dismissals of coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley, the Browns averaged 21.125 points per game on offense, but were outscored by more than five points in every outing.
Once Kitchens took over the play-calling duties, the Browns showed improvement in points per game scored. The Browns averaged 23.75 points per game, up by more than 2.5 points per outing.
Used sparingly by Haley over the first half of the 2018 season, Chubb rushed for 788 of his season total of 996 yards and five of his eight touchdowns on 140 carries under Kitchens. After the changes in the coaching staff, Chubb averaged 5.63 yards per carry and became a contributing member in the passing game as well.
Not known for having great catching ability out of the backfield, Chubb turned 18 catches into 139 yards and two touchdowns over the second half of the 2018 season.
“You saw that when Freddie took over how the offense just exploded, how Baker Mayfield turned himself into the greatest rookie quarterback of our generation and our memory, and you look at how his personality could take on that role of a head coach, which is a CEO role, which you have to have a little bit of no nonsense,” Thomas said.
“You have to be able to handle different personalities, and I think he proved that.”
Kitchens has 20 years of coaching experience, including 13 at the NFL level.
Before joining the Browns, Kitchens was a tight ends (2007-2012), quarterbacks (2013-2016) and running backs coach (2017) for the Arizona Cardinals. Additionally, Kitchens was the Dallas Cowboys’ tight ends coach during the 2006 season.
Prior to his NFL coaching career, Kitchens worked at Mississippi State, North Texas, LSU and Glenville State.
The 44-year old Kitchens is a native of Gadsden, Alabama, and was a three-year starting quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He was a high school All-American and earned the Mr. Football Award in Alabama as a prep standout.
“As a coach, it’s about how you personally respond,” Thomas said. “It’s not about how you learned it from somebody else. Having that broad background, having that leadership, being a quarterback in college, I think those are things you’re going to have to draw upon when you’re a head coach, and those are the things that make you a good head coach.
“I believe this is another right decision by John Dorsey.”