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Freddie Kitchens: I don't need stars, I want all-around good players

INDIANAPOLIS -- Freddie Kitchens took the podium Wednesday in Indianapolis and made two points very clear: The Browns are not looking ahead of this important offseason, and star power is not a prerequisite for entry.

They just want winners.

"I don't need a big name, star-type anything to power anything," Kitchens replied when asked if a big name was needed at the receiver position. "We need somebody that's a good football player, that it's important to him to be a good football player in every aspect of his life, in his career, in all areas it's important for him to succeed, and that's how you get a better team."

Personnel chiefs tend to shape teams in their own image, a process they'll often refer to as getting "their guys." Browns general manager John Dorsey has been in his role for less than a year and a half and already remade Cleveland's roster into a team that won seven more games than the previous season.

Perhaps it makes sense, then, that he hired Kitchens as the team's new head coach.

"As far as a big name, that'd be kind of ... I'm not a big name," Kitchens said with a smile.

Kitchens was an off-the-radar assistant before the 2018 season, and his ascension to his role seemed to happen overnight. But it wasn't instantaneous; Kitchens spent more than a decade as an assistant.

He's learned it is a long journey from the offseason to the Super Bowl. And he's not looking beyond offseason activities.

Kitchens received multiple questions related to potential future personnel decisions. Might three be a crowd in the backfield? Are the Browns in the market for a backup quarterback? He replied to all with a similar response: Those answers won't come until well after the last of the snow has melted.

"We haven't even been on the field yet, so I don't know," Kitchens said when asked about position battles and potential changes. "Our staff's been working hard trying to get our system in place on offense, defense and special teams, and we're nowhere near that yet."

Dorsey, Kitchens and their collective staff will instead spend the week scouting the next crop of talent with the hopes of making a handful of key additions. They'll then take the field and start to answer Wednesday's questions.

Until then, the message remains clear: There's reason for optimism, but plenty of work to be done.

"The rear-view mirror is very, very small and that windshield is big," Kitchens said. "That's the way we're approaching everything we do."

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