Browns’ Kitchens focused despite speculation about future

CLEVELAND, OHIO - DECEMBER 22: Head coach Freddie Kitchens of the Cleveland Browns looks on against the Baltimore Ravens in the game at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said he has not asked for any assurances that he’ll be back next season after a disappointing first one.

Kitchens’ future is in serious doubt with one game remaining as the Browns (6-9) have been perhaps the NFL’s most underachieving team this season. They’ve not lived up to expectations and the first-year coach has been plagued by self-inflicted mistakes with play-calling and clock management.

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Kitchens said Monday that he has received “total support” from general manager John Dorsey and owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, and that he’s determined to finish out the season on a positive note as Cleveland heads into a meaningless finale at Cincinnati.

“I’m focused on doing my job right now and I think that’s where they want my focus,” Kitchens said. “I have not gotten anything but total support from those guys, and they want me to do my job and that’s what I’m trying to do on an everyday basis.”

Kitchens was widely criticized for some questionable decisions in the first half of Sunday’s 31-15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. He chose not to run out the clock in the final minutes and the Browns gave up two touchdowns in the last 1:18 before halftime and never recovered.

The Browns have not had a winning season since 2007 or made the playoffs since 2002, the league’s longest current postseason drought.

Kitchens was handed a talented roster, but it hasn’t gelled and the Browns defense has been decimated by injuries and an indefinite suspension for star end Myles Garrett.

Kitchens, though, believes the Browns are close to becoming a good team and feels the experiences of this season will help him and his players going forward.

“I truly feel like I’m my worst critic,” he said. “Whether we win or lose, I try to critique myself. I feel like I’ve got people around me that if I ask them a question, they will answer me honestly. A lot of times as the head coach, you can’t get honest feedback and I think that’s been a benefit I have here.

“I get honest feedback when I ask certain people questions. Every time I go through something I learn from it. My learning progress is continuing to go upward. I think when you get in a situation where it goes downward — then you’re in trouble. I feel like every situation I’ve gone into I’ve learned something.”

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