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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Baker Mayfield stops short of endorsing Freddie Kitchens: ‘That’s not my decision’

Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield and Freddie Kitchens appeared to have a great relationship over the second half of the season in 2018, and that is one of the main reasons the Cleveland Browns promoted Kitchens to head coach. But as a disappointing season for the team winds down, Mayfield is not exactly campaigning for the team to keep Kitchens around.

Following Sunday’s 31-15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Mayfield said there is “no one single thing to blame” for Cleveland falling well short of expectations. He was then given an opportunity to vouch for Kitchens when asked if changes to the coaching staff would be a setback with what the Browns are trying to accomplish.

“That’s not my decision to make, so whatever happens, happens moving forward,” Mayfield said, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. “I know how I am going to handle it, getting whatever receiving corps and tight ends we have together in the offseason and making sure we are on the same page so we hit the ground running in the spring to where there is no room to be made up come training camp.”

Mayfield said he is looking forward to seeing what the Browns put together in the offseason, but at no point did he openly say he wants Kitchens to remain the team’s head coach. He certainly had an opportunity to do that.

While he is right that a coaching change would not be his decision, Mayfield’s success with Kitchens as offensive coordinator last season was a big factor in why Kitchens got the head coaching job. If Browns executives sit down with Mayfield and the quarterback tells them he feels another coach could work better, that may tip the scale for Kitchens one way or the other.

If the exchange Kitchens had with Jarvis Landry on the sideline Sunday is any indication, players are frustrated with the coach. Kitchens and Odell Beckham Jr. exchanged words in similar fashion on Sunday, though they claim they were not arguing. Whatever the case, Kitchens has appeared to be in over his head all season. It would be a surprise if many Browns players would be sad to see him go.

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