In early September, the Cleveland Browns were widely considered the team to beat in the AFC North.
A new head coach, a fresh receiving core with a few superstar talents like Odell Beckham Jr., a star-studded defensive line, and a quarterback coming off an impressive rookie season all combined to have Browns’ fans hoping for their first playoff berth since the 2002 season.
That just wasn’t the reality of the season, and it was clear early on that they needed a change of direction.
In order to get that change for next year, the Browns have fired head coach Freddie Kitchens. This come just hours after the Bengals won their second game of the season in Week 17.
The Bengals defeated the Browns 33-23.
The Browns allowed Joe Mixon to run all over team, totaling over 150 yards and two scores. Finishing 6-10, the bulk of the Browns offensive issues fell on the shoulders of Kitchens.
The Browns’ owners, Jimmy and Dee Haslam, announced the move on Sunday after the team’s embarrassing loss.
“We thank Freddie for his hard work and commitment to this organization but did not see the success or opportunities for improvement to move forward with him as our head coach. Our focus is on hiring an exceptional leader for this football team and we will take a comprehensive approach to this process. We are excited about the core players we have to build around and develop and we look forward to bringing in a strong head coach that will put this group of players in the best position to succeed.”
Potential suitors for the team’s next head coaching gig include Marvin Lewis. What should be a hot position, it’ll be tough for any coach to come in and replicate the success that Baker Mayfield saw in his initial season.
For the Bengals’ AFC North rivals, it was time for the change, and it also signifies that, in the era in which their are high expectations, the leash for new head coaches is rather short.
However, for now, the Bengals still have faith in their rookie head coach Zac Taylor.