Freddie Kitchens’ time away from coaching may not last very long.
On Friday, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan reported that new Giants head coach Joe Judge is expected to speak with Kitchens, who was fired on Dec. 30 after just one season as the Browns‘ head coach. Judge and Kitchens previously served on the same coaching staff at Mississippi State in 2005; Kitchens was the school’s running backs coach at the time, while Judge served as a graduate assistant.
A former starting quarterback at Alabama, Kitchens broke into coaching in 1999. After six years in the college ranks, Kitchens joined Bill Parcells’ staff in Dallas as the Cowboys‘ tight ends coach in 2006. After one year in Dallas, Kitchens would spend the next 11 seasons in Arizona, serving in various roles that included being the Cardinals‘ quarterbacks coach from 2013-16. Kitchens was the Cardinals’ tight ends coach during their run to Super Bowl XLIII in 2008. Kitchens enjoyed a successful partnership in Arizona with quarterback Carson Palmer, who played at a Pro Bowl level in 2015 while helping lead the Cardinals to the NFC Championship Game.
Kitchens joined the Browns’ staff 2018 as the team’s associate head coach and running backs coach. He was promoted to offensive coordinator midway through the season after Cleveland fired Hue Jackson after a 2-5-1 start. In Kitchens’ new role, the Browns went 5-3 while posting their best regular season record since 2007. Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield showed significant signs of promise, completing nearly 64% of his passes with 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The Browns second half success on the offensive side of the ball earned Kitchens the title as Browns’ head coach heading into the 2019 offseason.
Cleveland’s season in 2019 was, simply put, a disappointment under Kitchens, as the Browns’ offense was unable to live up to expectations despite the off-season acquisitions of receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and running back Kareem Hunt. While running back Nick Chubb enjoyed a Pro Bowl season, Beckham, Hunt, and Mayfield failed to live up to the hype, as Mayfield threw 21 interceptions while failing to complete 60% of his pass attempts. The Browns, after a 2-6 start, finished the year with a 6-10 record while finishing behind the Steelers and Ravens in the AFC North division standings.
In New York, Kitchens would have the opportunity to work with Daniel Jones, who, like Mayfield, showed signs of promise during his rookie season. The sixth overall pick in the 2019 draft, Jones completed 61.9% of his passes with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for the Giants, who suffered through 4-12 season that ultimately led to the dismissal of former head coach Pat Shurmur.