Browns ensure Baker is cooking with Kitchens


Once it became clear that Riley wasn't leaving the Sooners, promoting their offensive coordinator must have seemed like the best option.

ESPN was first to announce the decision.

Kitchens served as the Browns interim offensive coordinator for the final eight games of the season, after Hue Jackson was let go.

Under his leadership, Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft, threw 19 of his National Football League rookie record 27 touchdown passes while erasing any doubt that he could be the coveted franchise quarterback that has eluded the Browns for decades. His completion percentage improved by over 10 points under Kitchens as well. With the news of Kitchens being named the next head coach of the Browns, Stefanski a free agent for just one day, elected to return to the Vikings as their offensive coordinator, according to ESPN. Ken Whisenhunt was the head coach for most of the years that Kitchens was in Arizona, and he would be considered for the job, except that he is now running a pretty successful offense in Los Angeles for the Chargers.

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"I like it here and I like it here a lot, and everybody around here knows that I like it here", Kitchens said last month. I'm not going to get involved.

The Browns are moving quickly through the interviews for head coaches, and today a report from Ian Rapaport of NFL Network says "to his understandings" that it's down to two, one of which will eventually lead the Browns into the future. They went 5-3 down the stretch under interim head coach Gregg Williams.

It's hard to suss out how much of that was due to Kitchens and how much was due to (a) Mayfield coming into his own after reliving Tyrod Taylor in Week 3 and getting his first start in Week 4; and (b) the front office's decision to trade Carlos Hyde, which thrust Chubb into the lineup. Williams was the first candidate to interview for the coaching vacancy. Stefanski was the only known candidate to receive a second interview, which came on Tuesday January 8.