One thing has become abundantly clear, the Cleveland Browns made a mistake when they decided to hire Freddie Kitchens as their head coach.
Freddie Kitchens has shown that he is incompetent with this decision making both on and off the field. Kitchens is supposed to lead the Cleveland Browns and set an example for the players. Kitchens has been exemplary when it comes to sending mixed messages and arbitrarily deciding when to discipline players and yes, we are going to talk about the stupid t-shirt.
The t-shirt is stupid. The decision to wear the t-shirt is stupid. This is completely different from players wearing shirts (players on the Browns and Steelers were seen wearing t-shirts prior to Sunday’s game). Let’s talk about the shirt. It sends a message that appears to try and minimize the actions of Myles Garrett. Whether intentional or not, that is the message that many see. This isn’t about backing his own players. This is about showing a complete lack of self-awareness on his part. The one thing Freddie Kitchens cannot do while wearing that shirt is be seen in public and he failed at that. Just like he has failed numerous times throughout the season.
Freddie Kitchens is not a leader and is simply unable to set a good example for his players. Kitchens decides to wear that shirt and at the same time keep Damarious Randall out for missing a practice. How in the world are you going to try and be a hard-ass all of the sudden when you are galavanting around town wearing that ridiculous shirt? To be blunt? You can’t.
The shirt just gives confirmation to the lack of awareness of Freddie Kitchens
There is a reason you don’t see successful coaches wearing shirts like this. Because it is dumb. Did the shirt cost the Browns the game Sunday? No. This isn’t about bulletin board material or being motivated by the actions of the Browns. Pittsburgh doesn’t need this artificial motivation to win. Simply beating a rival is enough for them. They are a well put together organization from top to bottom. Pittsburgh was without their starting quarterback, running back, wide receiver and one of the best offensive lineman in the league. Cleveland had the advantage talent wise and still lost. Mike Tomlin knows how to prepare his team for the moment even when they are without key players. Kitchens does not.
The fact that Kitchens doubled down on wearing the shirt is an embarrassment. Saying he would do it again is absolute insanity. How stupid are you? People who realize what wearing that shirt symbolizes know it’s stupid. This isn’t some after the fact revisionist history. The shirt stinks and so does the coach. Fans were all on board with Kitchens and the shirt claiming “he’s one of us” or “he gets it”. If that is what makes him part of the group then it is a pretty pathetic group to begin with.
The perception of Kitchens is that of an inept individual who is unable to hold his team accountable. There is a clear lack of leadership. Obviously there is no discipline. When it comes time to make decisions that impact the game (strategy, run-pass ratio), they are often the wrong one.
A change needs to be made
The Cleveland Browns need someone who will instill discipline. Someone who will hold the team accountable. Be a leader for their team. Build a culture. What we know is that Freddie Kitchens is not that person. Like Mike Lombardi says, they are a team of characters not a team of character. If you want to be a team of character they have to fire Freddie Kitchens and bring someone in who can do the job correctly. This team can be something special if the right person is running the show.
The Browns have been stuck in the same cycle since returning in 1999. Yes, firing a head coach after one season does play into that cycle, but if the hire was a mistake it is important to correct it immediately. Keeping a bad head coach for too long is just as bad as firing a coach after one season. Where would the Cleveland Browns be if they fired Hue Jackson after 0-16 instead of signing up for third year of ridiculousness? In a much better place that is for damn sure.