Hall of Famer Kurt Warner believes in Freddie Kitchens’ ability to coach
Count Kurt Warner as one of the few NFL analysts who believe the Cleveland Browns made the right decision in hiring their new head coach.
The four-time Pro Bowler threw support behind Cleveland’s rookie coach Freddie Kitchens on Friday, alluding to a conversation the two shared when Warner visited his old team, the Arizona Cardinals, a couple of years back as a member of NFL Network.
“I talked to him a couple of years ago when he was in Arizona and Bruce Arians was moving on, and at that point in time he felt he was ready to step into a head coaching job,’” Warner told cleveland.com of Kitchens. “He never really got the opportunity at that point in time, so when it came around this time, I know he was excited to just have the opportunity to present himself and what he would be as a head coach.”
The Browns fired coach Hue Jackson midway through the 2018 season, with the team – which came off a winless 2017 season, remember – sporting an uninspiring record of 2-5-1.
Behind first overall pick Baker Mayfield, though, Cleveland regrouped over the second half of the season to win five of its last eight games and finish the year just short of .500.
Kitchens’ rise to head coach has been nothing short of meteoric. Hired as running backs coach before last season, he was promoted to offensive coordinator following the midseason ouster of Todd Haley.
Kitchens, who quickly gained a strong rapport with Mayfield after becoming offensive coordinator, alluded to doubts regarding his rapid ascent through the organization at his introductory press conference, thanking ownership for the “guts” it took to hire him.