The Cleveland Browns (6-10) completed an embarrassing season with a humiliating 33-23 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals (2-14; owners of 2020’s No. 1 overall pick) on Sunday. It’s their 12th straight season with a record under .500.
But this season was particularly awful, given the expectations. The Browns entered 2019 as a sexy Super Bowl pick, and were expected to be a contender at the very least. They went 7-8-1 (sadly their best record since 2007) last year, in quarterback Baker Mayfield’s rookie season. And they gave Mayfield a shiny new toy in wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. over the offseason (which led to their Super Bowl odds skyrocketing). So it was natural to expect the team to be even better — and perhaps *much* better — in 2019. Instead, they were even worse.
Well, shortly after Sunday’s season-ending loss, the Browns fired head coach Freddie Kitchens after just one season.
Freddie Kitchens has been relieved of his duties as head coach
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) December 30, 2019
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted — after talking with Kitchens — that Kitchens was emotional and “believed he had organizational support.”
Just got off the phone with an emotional Freddie Kitchens. He believed he had organizational support. He did not. https://t.co/6263Mmh7c0
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 30, 2019
It’s rare to see a head coach fired after just one season, but this firing is anything but surprising (we ranked him as the 10th-worst head coach of the decade, even after just one season).
On paper, this Browns roster looks no worse than the Green Bay Packers, who won seven more games (13-3). Mayfield — the No. 1 0verall pick in 2018 — saw his passer rating drop from 93.8 as a rookie to a very rough 78.8 in his sophomore campaign. Kitchens — the team’s offensive coordinator in 2018 — was supposed to take Mayfield and the Cleveland offense to next level as head coach (especially with OBJ in the offense), and that obviously didn’t happen.
Now, even with this team’s laughably awful history and embarrassing 2019 season, the head coach opening should be a very attractive job. It’s a very talented roster, and maybe somebody out there thinks they can get much more out of Mayfield (after all, we saw his talent on display as a rookie). And whoever can actually lead this organization to a playoff berth — heck, even a .500 season — will look like a Hall of Fame-worthy coach.