Training Camp

Freddie Kitchens, John Dorsey make it clear: Browns' high expectations won't be a burden

Freddie Kitchens walked through the door to the press conference room in the Browns headquarters in Berea, stepped around a few camera tripods and sat underneath the room's bright lights.

The Browns head coach couldn't help but look surprised as he examined the crowded room full of media members eager to pepper Kitchens with questions about the lofty expectations ahead of arguably the biggest training camp in recent franchise history.

"Good crowd, goodness gracious," Kitchens said as he stepped up to the table with general manager John Dorsey.

For the foreseeable future, Kitchens should expect to see similar scrums like the one he saw Wednesday. That's what happens when a team is met with expectations that include two bold words ­­— "Super Bowl" — after dominating headlines with the NFL's biggest transaction of the offseason and the fast emergence of the 2018 No. 1 overall draft pick.

Yes, wide receiver Odell Beckham's Jr.'s pairing with quarterback Baker Mayfield and, not to mention, his best friend Jarvis Landry is, perhaps, the biggest reason why those expectations are so high. The Browns are full of young talent on defense, too, so it's no longer surprising to see the team listed among potential Super Bowl contenders in 2019.

"My job is to get (Kitchens) as many good football players as I possibly can," Dorsey said. "With the talent this coaching staff has in terms of developing young men, I have no problem with trying to achieve that goal."

It was only a year ago, however, when the Browns were trying to forget their 0-16 season. Not many pundits anticipated the Browns to climb the ladder to potential AFC North champions so quickly, but Dorsey and Kitchens had other plans when they envisioned the 2019 roster.

So, the question was asked: Could it all be too much, too soon for the Browns?

Kitchens' answer was a resounding "no."

"I want everybody to understand this," he said. "Our goal here with the Cleveland Browns, as long as I'm here, will always be to win the Super Bowl. That's the last time I'm going to say that. Just know and make it a given that that's what I believe to my core."

The Browns roster in headshots

Kitchens knows, though, that it will be his players' performance on the field that matters most. His experience, which includes a decade of coaching promising teams with the Arizona Cardinals and a year with coaching legend Bill Parcells and the 2006 Dallas Cowboys, has taught him that.

Every team wants to win the Super Bowl, but it's up to Kitchens to create a culture in which his players can call those expectations a realistic goal, not a burden.

"You do that by putting the expectations on how you're prepared on a day-in, day-out basis," Kitchens said. "You do that by keeping your head down and not looking at the scoreboard, because then you can't tell me, 'When do I have to let up?' or 'When do I need to press a little harder?' We're not going to judge how we perform by looking at the scoreboard."

That will be one of Kitchens' messages when he addresses the team Wednesday night ahead of the start of training camp Thursday, and it might take time for his message to come to fruition to the minds of 90 players eager to claim a stake in finally building a winning franchise in Cleveland.

But Kitchens wanted to ensure his message to the media frenzy was clear. The Super Bowl expectations — and the work that goes into meeting them — will never be too tall for Kitchens as long as he's the coach of the Browns.

"I've never predicted anything," he said," but I know what our goal is, and that's never going to change."

The annual Orange & Brown Scrimmage will take place on August 3rd at FirstEnergy Stadium. Click for information and tickets.

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