We’ve seen enough. The Cleveland Browns need to move off head coach Freddie Kitchens after the end of the season. They don’t win enough for their talent.
This was a game that the Cleveland Browns absolutely had to have. They could have swept the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers to take complete control of this series in recent meetings. A win would have had Cleveland back at .500 and in contention for the final AFC playoff. Instead, they’re 5-7 and head coach Freddie Kitchens shouldn’t be back in 2020. He needs to be one-and-done.
Yes, Cleveland’s first-half season schedule was tough sledding. Even the best coaches in the NFL would have had a tough time navigating that. However, the Browns’ second-half season schedule was theirs for the taking. Cleveland had the talent to go 9-7 and contend for a playoff spot this season. Now, they’re destined to finish under .500 yet again as a football team.
The reason this loss to the Steelers should be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back is that Pittsburgh won this game because its football culture is superior to Cleveland’s. There is no way a team as talented as the Browns should lose a game to a division rival that is starting a third-string quarterback. You beat them a few weeks and you couldn’t get it done at Heinz Field.
To score only 13 points with the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft at quarterback tells you that the Cleveland offense isn’t up to snuff against a Steelers team that should already be dead. There is no reason Pittsburgh should be in the mix for a playoff spot, but here we are. Cleveland should be challenging the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC North title, but here we are.
Even though it probably wasn’t a viable option long-term, Cleveland would be an eight or nine-win team like the Buffalo Bills are this season had the Browns stuck with Gregg Williams as their head coach in 2020. Going with a guy who hadn’t been an NFL coordinator until last season after Todd Haley was fired was not going to end well. This is what you signed up for, Browns, so deal with it.
The biggest problem with this is Mayfield will be on his fourth head coach entering his third season in the NFL after winning the Heisman Trophy. Cleveland is not getting the best head coach if they move off Kitchens, the second-best, the third-best or even the fourth-best option. It would be between the Browns and the Jacksonville Jaguars for the league’s fourth-best job.
The Browns made a questionable hire in ascending Kitchens up the coaching ladder that rapidly. He should be a decent team’s offensive coordinator and we saw what he did with the Browns in the second half of last season. However, he’s too raw to be an NFL head coach past this year. Maybe he’ll get a second opportunity in a few years, but Cleveland made yet another mistake.