Freddie Kitchens has never been a head coach before 2019, but as his quarterback said last week, he isn't about to become a new man just because of his new title.
"I think there is one thing you guys need to know is nobody is going to change Freddie," Mayfield said last week during the Browns' first trio of OTAs. "I think that is why he is the man for the job. No matter the scrutiny, first year or whatever it is, he is going to trust his instincts. The things he has been through, he is going to coach his players and he is going to try and bring out the best in them. I think that is the best part about him."
Ever the candid, genuine man, Kitchens went even more off script during an interview with Browns senior media broadcaster Nathan Zegura on Monday, explaining how this exact approach has led him to the helm of the Browns.
"I would agree with that. I don't see the need in changing now,” Kitchens explained. “I've gotten this job off being who I was so I'm not going to change now. I've seen head coaches, I've witnessed head coaches change. I promise you I'm not changing. Now, we'll see if it's good enough or not, but I have a feeling it will be.
"I'm going to stay the same. I'm going to stay the same coach on the field, I'm going to stay the same person off the field. I'm going to stay the same father, same husband, because at the end of the day I'm just a coach. Now I'm just in charge of a little more, but I've surrounded myself with good people, so that should take care of that."
Check out photos from the third day of OTA practices
As has often been said, head coach is different because it's typically the one coaching position that is more of a managerial, CEO-like role than it is hands-on individual teaching. But as Kitchens said, he's surrounded himself with coaches he trusts and believes in. It also helps that he falls in the same category of genuine as the man who hired him, Browns general manager John Dorsey.
"Everything a coach and management always stresses is consistency,” Kitchens said. “Well hell, how the hell can you be consistent if you don't even know what you're getting on a day-in and day-out basis? The only thing I want out of the people around me is to know what they're going to get each day and to be consistent with that. ... To me, it's not a remarkable, like, unsolved mystery. It's just, hell, be who you are. I've never understood that, somebody not being who they are.
"Sometimes it takes guts just to be who you are. 'Cause I don't sound like you. I don't sound like somebody else, so it's going to be different hearing it from me. I understand that, but I'm not going to try to change my accent or my dialect in sounding like another coach. I've gotten to where I'm at right now -- which is nowhere -- but I've had some opportunities in my career just sounding who I am and coaching 'em the way I coach 'em and that's making them feel like they mean something to me, because you know why? They do. That's the way I'm going to continue to be and if people around me can't accept that, then they can't accept it. That's their problem, not mine."
What's interesting in Kitchens' explanation is he echoed the same things Mayfield said about him. It's evident in both the coach and his players that there's no misunderstanding on who he is.
With that taken care of, both can focus on what matters -- football -- and the chances for success can only improve from there.