Despite a tumultuous failed stint with the Cleveland Browns, Freddie Kitchens may still land on his feet.
Kitchens, who was fired by the Browns after a disappointing 6-10 season, is rumored to be in the running for a position on the New York Giants staff under head coach Joe Judge, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN. Judge and Kitchens were both on the coaching staff at Mississippi State early in their careers.
“New Giants coach Joe Judge is expected to speak with former Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens about a spot on his offensive staff, per source,” reported Raanan. “The two worked together at Mississippi State.”
Joe Judge and Freddie Kitchens go way Back
Judge was with the New England Patriots as their special teams coordinator during the team’s Super Bowl run last season and shortly after his hire with the Giants, video emerged of him from media day talking about how Kitchens had him build a swing set during a bye week with the Bulldogs.
“So, when I was [graduate assistant] and Freddie was the tight ends and running backs coach at Mississippi State … it was our bye weekend and he grabbed me and another grad assistant named Jody Wright, who’s now working for the Browns,” he said. “He said, ‘Hey, it’s the bye week.’ Yeah, Freddie it’s great. We’re thinking we’re getting a week off, this and that. He’s like ‘All right, we got to put together a swing set for my daughters. So when we’re done here, meet me at my house.’
“So we’re thinking all right, bye week. It’s Sunday. We’ll be out of here 2 in the afternoon. We’ll get a swing set put together. Shoot, we’ll be done by 5 o’clock, eating dinner still home.”
Freddie Kitchens a Potential Valuable Assistant
The reason Kitchens got his first head coaching job with the Browns was because of his success as a coordinator during the second half of the 2018 season. He sparked the Browns as the team’s offensive coordinator, helping quarterback Baker Mayfield set the rookie touchdown record, helping unleash Nick Chubb and giving fans hope for the future. Cleveland averaged 23.8 points per game with Kitchens calling the plays.
However, that didn’t translate when he took the reins at head coach, with Cleveland’s talented unit — which included Mayfield, running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham — struggling to find any form of consistency.
Previously, Kitchens was a long-time position coach in the NFL, getting his first chance in the pro game with the Dallas Cowboys as a tight ends coach in 2006. Kitchens was a quarterback at Alabama from 1993 to 1997.
It’s unknown what kind of role Kitchens would have with the Giants, but he has more than enough NFL experience to be an asset.
The Browns have not hired a replacement for Kitchens yet. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz — the latest candidate to surface — interviewed on Wednesday. Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski was set for Thursday and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on Friday.
There have already been a string of interviews conducted by the team with coaches who are attached to teams with playoff byes. Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman and 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh have all already interviewed. Bill offensive coordinator Brian Daboll reportedly interviewed on Monday.