New Browns' coach Freddie Kitchens: 'I know I'm not a popular choice, and I don't care'

The Cleveland Browns formally introduced their newest head coach on Monday afternoon, one of the more outside-the-box hires of this cycle: Freddie Kitchens.

The 44-year-old had never run an offense at any level before the Browns promoted from running backs coach to coordinator midway through the season, after firing Hue Jackson and Todd Haley.

And now he’s the head coach in Cleveland.

In terms of news, Kitchens said he’ll call plays on offense, though the Browns hired Todd Monken, last with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as offensive coordinator.

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Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens
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Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens
BEREA, OH - JULY 27, 2018: Running backs coach Freddie Kitchens of the Cleveland Browns watches a drill during a training camp practice on July 27, 2018 at the Cleveland Browns training facility in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by: 2018 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 9, 2018: Running backs coach Freddie Kitchens on the field prior to a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 9, 2018 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The game ended in a tie 21-21. (Photo by: 2018 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 23: Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens looks on during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 23, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 28, 2018: Running back coach Freddie Kitchens of the Cleveland Browns watches the action from the sideline in the fourth quarter of a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 28, 2018 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh won 33-18. (Photo by: 2018 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 04: Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens on the field during warm-ups prior to the National Football League game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns on November 4, 2018, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 4, 2018: Offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens of the Cleveland Browns yells toward players in the third quarter of a game against the Kansas City Chiefs on November 4, 2018 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Kansas City won 37-21. (Photo by: 2018 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 11, 2018: Offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens of the Cleveland Browns talks with quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 in the third quarter of a game against the Atlanta Falcons on November 11, 2018 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won 28-16. (Photo by: 2018 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 25, 2018: Offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens on the field prior to a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on November 25, 2018 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cleveland won 35-20. (Photo by: 2018 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 25, 2018: Offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens of the Cleveland Browns talks with quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 prior to a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on November 25, 2018 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cleveland won 35-20. (Photo by: 2018 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 25, 2018: Offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens of the Cleveland Browns on the sideline in the first quarter of a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on November 25, 2018 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cleveland won 35-20. (Photo by: 2018 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 9, 2018: Offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens of the Cleveland Browns talks with quarterback Baker Mayfield prior to a game against the Carolina Panthers on December 9, 2018 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won 26-20. (Photo by: 2018 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 23: Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens on the field prior to the National Football League game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns on December 23, 2018, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 23: Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens looks on during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 23, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 23: Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens on the field prior to the National Football League game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns on December 23, 2018, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 23: Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens on the field prior to the National Football League game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns on December 23, 2018, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 23, 2018: Offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens of the Cleveland Browns on the sideline prior to a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on December 23, 2018 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won 26-18. (Photo by: 2018 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 30, 2018: Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 and offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens of the Cleveland Browns in the second quarter of a game against the Baltimore Ravens on December 30, 2018 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore won 26-24. (Photo by: 2018 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
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Kitchens can also can fill up a notebook with colorful quotes, if Monday is any indication.

Here are some highlights:

  • He can’t stand the idea that anyone is happy with the Browns’ record in 2018: “It drives me crazy that people are happy with 7-8-1. It drives me literally crazy and if I was in a different setting, my vocabulary would demonstrate that. But that’s not acceptable. Nobody here wants that. We understand that was an improvement, but under no circumstances is that ever going to be acceptable. We have only one goal here and that’s to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.”
  • Our colors or bust: Let’s not fool ourselves: this game is about winning. Everything we do in the organization on the football side of things, and moving forward with the organization, we’re together. If you don’t wear brown and orange, you don’t matter. Alright?
  • Because Kitchens doesn’t have the coordinator credentials most other candidates have, there have been questions about his readiness for the job. He wasn’t hearing them. “Was I ready to be a head coach? I don’t know, were you ready to be a parent?,” he said to one media member.
  • Related to his relative inexperience, he also said, “It takes guts to do what the Browns did. I appreciate that. I know I’m not a popular choice, and I don’t care. I’m not going to let them down.”
  • Kitchens is an Alabama native, and said Saturdays were all about the University of Alabama football, where he went on to play quarterback. But “on Sundays, you had to do something other than go to church or eat too much” and he was drawn to the Browns because of the simplicity of the team’s helmets. “I hope we don’t ever change that,” he said.
  • He came up with his own “algebraic equation” too: “In an algebraic equation: if we’re going to have fun, and the fun’s in the winning, we’re going to win. And we’re going to have a damn good time doing it.”

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