Freddie Kitchens may have been the 2019 head coaching hire that generated the most excitement and expectations than any other in the league.
Starting last season as the running backs coach, Kitchens replaced the fired Todd Haley halfway through the 2018 season as offensive coordinator.
That was last season.
Fast forward almost an entire year later and Kitchens’ stock has plummeted.
With each passing game and subsequent press conference, Kitchens seems decreasingly fit to be a head coach in the NFL.
In terms of preseason expectations, the Browns are perhaps the biggest letdown in the league, and the fans that were placing their Browns to the Super Bowl bets back on Labor Day are now picketing for Kitchens to be canned.
If that were to become the case and Kitchens is let go, he would become the 11th coach in the last 20 years to be fired after just one season at the helm, with the latest being Steve Wilks at the Cardinals a year ago.
If I’m Gm John Dorsey, I’ve already made these calls for a replacement.
Here are the first five guys I’d call to make the next Browns Head Coach:
5. Ron Rivera, former Panthers HC
Just fired by the Panthers, Rivera was one of the most-liked coaches in the league.
The majority of Panthers fans and media seem to be disappointed in the decision to cut ties with the guy who has been without his franchise QB in Cam Newton since Week 2.
Known to be a players’ coach, Rivera was 2-time NFL Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2015, including a trip to the Super Bowl.
And out of the last five Browns head coaching hires, four of those had zero prior NFL head coaching experience.
Needless to say, that pattern hasn’t really worked, so look for Dorsey to go for a proven coach for a change.
4. Mike McCarthy, former Packers HC
Speaking of proven NFL coaches, how about another former coach that’s been to a Super Bowl?
Fired from the Packers a year ago, mostly due to a rift with the ever pleasant Aaron Rodgers, McCarthy is yet an intriguing option for the Browns to take another look at.
The Browns wanted to hire him last year, had McCarthy agreed to keep Kitchens as his OC.
McCarthy didn’t agree to that, but now that that proviso would be out of the picture, a year-long sabbatical may be just what the doctor ordered for the Browns and McCarthy to unite.
3. Greg Roman, Ravens OC
Greg Roman is the brains behind the offense that has rocketed the Baltimore Ravens into the number one team in the AFC.
Currently leading the Ravens to the best rushing offense in the NFL, Roman would inherit a fantastic situation with a backfield that already features Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
Roman is a huge part of the rise that the odds-on MVP candidate Lamar Jackson has seen this year, and Baker Mayfield would break out of that sophomore slump real quick in the same offense that Jackson has piloted this season.
2. Kevin Stefanski, Vikings OC
If there’s any coach in the world that can nearly send CASE KEENUM to the Super Bowl, I would want him as my head coach.
Stefanski took this guy to the NFC Championship and he has struggled in the league ever since.
Stefanski interviewed to be the Giants HC after that 2017 season, but the interview was nixed by the Vikings.
1. Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma HC
This would be an absolute home run hire for the Cleveland Browns.
One of the brightest offensive minds in all of college football, Riley should be the number one target for John Dorsey to hire.
Oh, and not sure if you know this or not, but he’s sort of familiar with Baker Mayfield.
Just think of the offensive weapons he would have at his disposal.
With the offense the Ravens have displayed this year, and if the Bengals draft Heisman winner Joe Burrow and Ben Roethlisberger returning from injury next year, the Browns will be needing a coach like Riley if they want to keep up the pace with the rest of the division rivals.