Since being hired as the New York Giants head coach, Joe Judge has set a goal to fill out his coaching staff with like-minded coaches who have had some form of success either at the NFL level or in major College Football.
With Judge’s roots stemming from playing in the SEC to coaching at two of the most prominent programs in sports history, the University of Alabama and then the New England Patriots, his former colleges come with hefty resumes. This likely lends to the fact that the majority of the new coaching staff for the Giants have ties to Judge is some manner, and their recent hire is no different.
Giants Expected to Add Freddie Kitchens to Staff
On Tuesday night word broke that the New York Giants were adding former Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens to their staff. Matt Zenitz of AL.com stated that Kitchens’s role with the Giants is unclear at the time being.
Kitchens is the second former NFL head coach to be added to Joe Judge’s coaching staff in less than a week, following in the footsteps of newly hired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.
Kitchens’ one lone season at the helm of the Cleveland Browns was by many accounts a disaster from the outside looking in. Despite a talent riddled roster, Kitchens and company let outside distractions matched with underperforming play destroy the team’s Super Bowl aspirations. In return, Cleveland would go on to finish the year 6-10, making it their 12th-losing season in a row. Kitchens would go on to be unceremoniously fired shortly after the end of the regular season.
Despite Kitchens’ shortcomings as a head coach, there is no denying his success as an assistant in this league.
Previously we spoke about the Browns’ Super Bowl aspirations this past season. Those would have not been the case were it not for Baker Mayfield’s mid-year rookie season progression under Kitchens back in 2018. Take a look at the staggering statistics provided by ESPN’s Field Yates below, breaking down Mayfield’s numbers with and without Kitchens as his offensive coordinator.
Kitchens’ career of helping quarterbacks ascend in production goes well beyond just his time in Cleveland. Kitchens served as the Arizona Cardinals quarterback coach from 2013-2016. During that period, he helped Carson Palmer reemerge as one of the league’s more prominent signal-callers, even enjoying a career-season in 2015 where he tossed 35 touchdowns.
Kitchens and Giants’ head coach Joe Judge’s history together goes all the way back to Mississippi State. Kitchens served on the coaching staff while Judge was finishing out his playing career. Judge would go on to serve as a graduate assistant, working alongside Kitchens for one season before the former moved on to a role with the Dallas Cowboys.
Update: Per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, the Giants, Kitchens deal is not yet official.
Giants Set to Hire Jody Wright
If Kitchens does indeed find his way to New York, he’ll be accompanied by yet another familiar face. According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, the Giants are expected to hire Jody Wright, who served as an offensive assistant on Kitchens’ Browns staff a season ago.
Wright, Kitchens, and Judge’s history are all intertwined from their time at Mississippi State. Like Judge, Wright served alongside Kitchens as a graduate assistant, starting in 2005. Wright has also had stops at Alabama, UAB, and Jacksonville State along his way to ultimately landing a job with the G-Men.