CLEVELAND — Could the Cleveland Browns be zeroing in on Freddie Kitchens for their head-coaching vacancy?

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport, “Kitchens is getting strong consideration for the head job.” Additionally, Rapaport reported the Browns were making calls to people who have worked with Kitchens as part of their due-diligence.

In his end-of-the-year press conference on December 31, 2018, Browns general manager John Dorsey said that interim coach/defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was not the only in-house candidate to earn an interview for the full-time head-coaching vacancy over the final eight weeks of the 2018 regular season.

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.

“I think he has earned it,” Dorsey said of Kitchens in his end-of-the-year press conference. “He has done a nice job in his role as offensive coordinator. I think this organization wants to get to know him a little bit better.”

Freddie Kitchens
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 23: Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens looks on during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 23, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio
Jason Miller/Getty Images

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.

Kitchens was seventh interview candidate confirmed by the Browns since starting their search last Tuesday. Last week, the Browns brought in Williams, Jim Caldwell, the former coach of the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions, current Minnesota Vikings interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski and New Orleans Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell for interviews.

Also, over the weekend, the Browns brought in New England Patriots defensive assistant Brian Flores and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus (Sunday) for interviews.