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Freddie Kitchens relishes chance to help shape roster

INDIANAPOLIS -- This week marks Freddie Kitchens' first NFL Scouting Combine as a head coach, and he's soaking up the opportunity.

Kitchens made his various media stops Wednesday, selling the promise of the Browns and answering a variety of questions about his team's roster, one that he'll now have additional influence in shaping. His new involvement with players outside of the offense excites the coach, who is also receiving a crash course on team-building from general manager John Dorsey.

"Oh, definitely," Kitchens said during an appearance on Cleveland Browns Daily when asked if he's enjoying his added responsibility. "I've been learning from John already on how he organizes the draft board and organizes free agency and that's been very unique for me to see the beginning of the process and then come to fruition to the end."

Kitchens' favorite part of this process? You guessed it: Breaking down film.

"I love watching tape and football," Kitchens said. "I love the camaraderie of the staff and getting together and saying that it's our offense and believing it's our offense now. There's no egos. It's OK to communicate and take suggestions from other people to form our offense, the Cleveland Browns offense, the Cleveland Browns defense and special teams, and knowing what our common factors are going to be but then fit everything around it and it becomes ours."

Part of molding his staff and team includes sifting through hundreds of prospects to determine who's a fit for the Browns. That's why Kitchens is also in Indianapolis to get to know the NFL's next rookie class.

"The biggest difference is I get to talk to all the players. I get to talk to every position," Kitchens said about his first Combine experience. "I get to get a feel for the person, the individual, the player, his confidence, what makes him tick is the biggest thing I get out of this. What motivates a guy? Can he be motivated? And if he can, what motivates him? And see if he's going to be a fit for us.

"It's funny to me, all these mock drafts, you have no idea who, you 16 other teams who are going to pick before you. So you have to have all your ducks in a row. For us as coaches, we have to see if they're a fit for us. That way we can give more input when our (time) comes with John and his staff."

Kitchens repeatedly emphasized the importance of communication. It's a basic skill, right? But sometimes, it's overlooked.

Not with these Browns, starting with the rookie interview process.

"I'm going to see if being in a meeting room and having a normal conversation, can they do that? Sometimes, people struggle to do that. See how somebody learns," Kitchens explained. "It's (up to) us as coaches, as teachers, to learn how they learn. And then we can speed up the process of several things after that happens. And then see how they communicate. This game is about communication in all areas. It's about communication coach-to-coach, coach-to-player, player-to-coach, you've got to be able to communicate, see if they can communicate what they're trying to say, or what we're trying to say to them."

Who ends up filling the Browns' rookie class in unknown at this point, but it's safe to say they'll possess adequate communication skills at the least. From there, it's communicate to learn, develop, and eventually, win.