Rapoport: Browns Management Supports Kitchens

Pete Smith

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the management of the Cleveland Browns is behind Freddie Kitchens, wanting him to succeed as head coach of the team. The combination of the fact that they could end up .500 and understanding he's still learning the job, the belief is that he can be better in 2020.

This is a situation where it could be that simple, but there's likely more going on behind the scenes. First, management is likely general manager John Dorsey. And there have been reports from earlier this week from Ben Allbright and Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network that Dorsey is indeed in Kitchens' corner. Given Dorsey's the one that hired him, that would make sense.

Their reporting was that ownership was the one that isn't convinced at this point and it's largely a question of if Dorsey can keep the Haslams, specifically Jimmy Haslam, to stay bought in on the setup as is.

It's also incredibly easy to realize that this is in effect a vote of confidence and the history of those is, to put it kindly, spotty. The Browns are likely going to know who their head coach is for 2020 before the final seconds of the season tick off the clock week 17, whether it's Kitchens or someone else.

It's possible that this support of Kitchens, as much as it is, is an indication that management has been operating behind the scenes and the job isn't as attractive as they'd like it to be due to ownership. With that, they may not feel confident that if they were to fire Kitchens, they'd be able to get the upgrade they would be hoping to land. The Browns and specifically Dorsey do not want to find themselves in a situation where they fire Kitchens and find themselves in no man's land, picking from a pool of unsatisfying head coaching options, in effect changing simply for the sake of change rather than improving.

This also could represent some self awareness from Dorsey that while he made a number of moves that ramped up expectations, such as adding Odell Beckham, Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson, there were a number of moves that represented steps backward, including the situation at right guard, linebacker and safety. Injuries piled up, weaknesses that were more effectively hidden last year stuck out and obviously a number of other things went terribly wrong.

Depending on what happens in their game against the Arizona Cardinals as well as how they play in the last two games of the season, the reality is what is being reported in the morning regarding the Browns and Kitchens could change by that same evening. This situation still feels fluid, even if it may not be.