Cleveland Browns

Rapoport: Browns gave “no mandate” to keep Williams/Kitchens

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The Cleveland Browns will officially begin their coaching search following Sunday’s season finale vs Baltimore and yes there will be a coaching search.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Browns interim head coach Gregg Williams “isn’t considered a front-runner or anything close for the full-time job.”

Williams has led the Browns to a 5-2 record since taking over as the interim after Hue Jackson was fired in late October. He’ll still be getting an interview for the job as he should for the job he’s done.

Also not guaranteed for the future is offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens who I would expect to also get an interview for the head coaching position for the work he has done since replacing Todd Haley and his first experience as an offensive coordinator.

In seven games, the Browns offense has averaged 23.7 points and 390.7 yards per game under Kitchens’ play calling.

Baker Mayfield has also taken a monumental step under Kitchens completing 71% of his passes for 1,878 yards, 16 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.

It’s clear they have a great working relationship and the results are proof of that and when teams are looking for that next great offensive mind or the next Sean McVay, Cleveland may already have that with Kitchens to pair with Mayfield, who is one of the top young quarterbacks in the NFL.

You could also have a situation like Tampa Bay when they promoted Dirk Koetter from offensive coordinator to head coach when they fired Lovie Smith following the 2015 season because of the relationship Koetter had with quarterback Jameis Winston.

Koetter is 19-28 in three seasons as head coach and is rumored to be getting fired after the season ends.

The Browns will reportedly have a wide open search for the position and some names have already been linked to the job from the report by Rapoport.

Among those expected to be considered or inquired about are McCarthy, Iowa State coach Matt Campbell, Patriots de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.

Another name linked to the job is Dolphins head coach Adam Gase who could reportedly be fired in Miami at the end of the season. Rapoport said that Jimmy Haslam has been a fan of Gase which likely comes with a recommendation from Peyton Manning, who Gase coached in Denver and has a relationship with Haslam because of their ties to the University of Tennessee.

I know some want the Browns to keep things the way they are with Williams and Kitchens in place because of how the direction of the franchise has turned over the last seven games but John Dorsey clearly has people in mind of who he wants as a head coach and the Haslams are going to let him lead the search.

There’s still a chance they can go through the process and Williams and/or Kitchens would emerge as the best option available. Just let the process play out.

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