Cleveland’s new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens will be calling plays for the first time in a regular-season game Sunday, and his biggest focus will be his rookie quarterback.
Kitchens believes the development of Baker Mayfield is of the “utmost importance” for the 2-5-1 Browns.
“We want all of our players to see growth, from everything to the line to the receivers to the backs and of course the quarterback,” Kitchens said, via ESPN. “The quarterback’s learning curve and the pictures in his head has to increase.”
Along with managing his first year in the NFL, Mayfield has also had new challenges, including a midseason coaching change.
“I think Baker’s done a very good job,” Kitchens said. “People are going to make adjustments to him. He’s making adjustments also.
“But it’s a big deal to play quarterback in the National Football League. You can’t just roll somebody out there and do it. So he’s going to have some learning curves too that he has to get through.”
Kitchens took over as coordinator for Todd Haley, who was fired along with head coach Hue Jackson on Monday. He had a long working relationship with Haley as the pair worked together in Arizona before Kitchens stayed with the Cardinals to work alongside Bruce Arians.
The matchup with the Chiefs will be a first for Kitchens. The only time he has called plays was when he did so in the preseason finale against Detroit. Mayfield started that game and had three 50-plus yard scoring drives on his first three possessions.
“(The players) can make a playcaller look great if they execute,” Kitchens said. “I fully expect them to make me look great. It’s not the other way around. I don’t know where we got this preconceived notion that it’s the other way around. The players play the game. Coaches coach. Coaches coach during the course of the week to get them better and to prepare for what’s going to show up on Sunday. Then it’s time for them to go play the game.”
Kick off is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.