Freddie Kitchens had his introductory press conference as the new Cleveland Browns head coach Monday, and he made it clear he wants to build a winner in Cleveland.
"I relish the fact there's been more downs than ups since 1999," he added, per the team. "That ends today."
He also spoke on his relationship with Baker Mayfield and revealed that he would continue calling plays for the offense:
Kitchens also praised the front office and organization in general.
"We've got the best support staff I've ever seen, anywhere I've ever been," he said, per Keith Britton of 92.3 The Fan. "When you have a desire to win, and everybody checks their ego at the door...we should be successful."
He also spoke about his personality and the type of environment he wants to set within the team:
Keith Britton @KeithBritton86
#Browns HC Freddie Kitchens on players liking him, his transparency: “It won't change at all. Did they say I was easy to get along with when they had a mental error? ...these guys are still developing as people, too. Sometimes you just got to find out what drives the person"
There is optimism in Cleveland surrounding the Browns. The team went 5-3 down the stretch and finished 7-8-1, Mayfield looked like the real deal in his rookie season, the team has young talent on both sides of the ball, and Kitchens appears to be popular with his players and has already put together an impressive staff, adding Todd Monken as his offensive coordinator and Steve Wilks as his defensive coordinator.
Expectations will be high for Kitchens and his Browns, which has not been the case in Cleveland for the past two decades. The Browns haven't had a winning season since 2007 and haven't reached the postseason since 2002. Coming into 2018, the Browns had gone 4-44 in the three seasons prior.
The pressure on Kitchens, then, is to lead the Browns into a new and prosperous era. And he recognizes that the front office has thrown its chips behind him at such a critical juncture of the team's rebuild.
"It takes some guts to do what they did. And I appreciate that," he said, per Britton. "I won't let them down. And all you have to do is sit back and watch. I understand I'm not a popular choice. And I don't care. You've got to block out the noise in this business."