Freddie Kitchens wasted no time putting together a strong and experienced Cleveland Browns coaching staff. With the help of general manager John Dorsey, Kitchens hired veteran coordinators and a well-respected offensive line coach.
Todd Monken goes from Tampa Bay to the Browns as offensive coordinator, although Kitchens will call the plays. Steve Wilks becomes defensive coordinator, which means the Browns will not transition from the 4-3 base defense they’ve used. And Mike Priefer goes from special teams coach with the Vikings to the Browns.
"I think what you've done with the coaching staff that they've assembled is there's a lot of experience beginning to develop on this coaching staff," Dorsey said. "And with that these men are qualified at certain things that can kind of take the pressures off the head coach doing that in-game management. And I think that's why you have an experienced coaching staff that you begin to delegate things.
"As Freddie has said, if he doesn't have the answer to something, he's going to find it. And why not surround yourself with guys that are in this together for the we factor?"
Here is a look at the Browns' new staff:
Monken (offensive coordinator): The pairing of Monken and Kitchens with Baker Mayfield could produce next-generation results for the Browns offense. Monken is an innovative thinker who opened up the Bucs offense and joined the Browns knowing Kitchens will call plays. That indicates that Monken will have considerable input into scheme and game plans.
Ryan Lindley (quarterbacks): Lindley saw a gamble pay off as he was named to the staff with the hiring of Kitchens. He gave up a spot on the San Diego State staff when Kitchens was made offensive coordinator midway through last season, with no guarantee of a future job. He was rewarded with the quarterbacks job. One of Lindley’s mentors: Former Browns great Brian Sipe, who coached Lindley at San Diego State.
Stump Mitchell (running backs/run game coordinator): Mitchell has 16 years coaching experience, the last two in New York with the Jets. His connection with Kitchens goes to Arizona; he and Kitchens were on the staff there from 2013-16. Mitchell played nine seasons with the Cardinals, and ranks second in team history in rushing yards and yards per carry. One interesting tidbit: Mitchell was coach at Morgan State from 1996-98; that’s the school that produced Browns Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly.
Adam Henry (wide receivers): Henry did impressive work with the Browns last season, as rookie Antonio Callaway and street pickup Breshad Perrimann got better as the season went on. Henry is highly thought of, and as a result is one of two holdovers from the 2018 staff.
James Campen (offensive line/associate head coach): The Browns lose "Hard Knocks" sensation Bob Wylie, but add one of the better line coaches in the NFL. Campen coached the Packers offensive line since 2007, and joined the Browns because of his relationship with Dorsey. "He’s a great developer of young offensive linemen; I think he has six or seven Pro Bowl players he’s developed over the years," Dorsey said. "He’s a good evaluator of talent. I see him and Freddie hitting it off unbelievably."
Jody Wright (special assistant to the head coach): Wright joins the Browns from the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where he was offensive line and assistant head coach in 2018. The three years prior he was the director of player personnel for Nick Saban’s Alabama teams.
Jeff Blasko (assistant offensive line): Blasko comes to Cleveland from Green Bay. He was Campen’s assistant on the offensive line the past two seasons.
John Lilly (tight ends): Lilly has one year’s experience in the NFL with the Rams in 2016. He has considerable college experience, though, including 13 seasons at Florida State. He was with Tennessee in 2018.
Jim Dray, Tyler Tettleton (offensive quality control): Dray played for the Browns in 2014 and 2015, and spent last season with Stanford. Tettleton was a player personnel intern last season with the Jets.
Wilks (defensive coordinator): Wilks became the latest victim of impatient NFL ownership, as Arizona gave him one season as head coach before making a change. The Cardinals struggled, but one season is hardly a fair chance. Wilks has 13 years experience in the NFL and 24 in coaching, including six with the Panthers from 2012-17. He was Carolina’s defensive coordinator his final season there.
Tosh Lupoi (defensive line): Lupoi was defensive coordinator at Alabama. Reports from Alabama said that Saban took play-calling duties from Lupoi early last season, which led to his decision to leave. Lupoi had received rave reviews as a position coach (outside linebackers) and for his recruiting.
Al Holcomb (linebackers, run game coordinator): Holcomb comes with Wilks from Arizona; the pair have worked together the past six seasons. Holcomb was defensive coordinator with Arizona, and got caught in the decision to give the staff only one season. Holcomb has 10 years experience in the NFL, and 24 overall in coaching,
DeWayne Walker (defensive backs): Walker joined the Browns with former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, and sticks with Wilks. Walker has worked for five different teams in the NFL, and the Browns have been high on his work the past two seasons.
Joe Whitt (secondary, pass game coordinator): Whitt is another Green Bay import. He was with the Packers since 2008, working as passing game coordinator last season and as cornerbacks coach from 2009-2017.
John Parrella (assistant defensive line): Parrella started 111 games over 11 seasons with the Bills, Chargers and Raiders. He spent 2018 developing players at The Spring League, a developmental league. He worked for Nebraska, his alma mater, as line coach in 2016 and 2017.
Chris Jones (senior defensive assistant): Jones has an interesting background. He won a Grey Cup for Edmonton in the CFL, and coached Saskatchewan the past three seasons. He coached 17 seasons in Canada, and last season was the CFL Coach of the Year. His relationship with Kitchens goes back to when Kitchens played at Alabama. Jones was a grad assistant there in one of the seasons (1997) Kitchens played quarterback.
Priefer (coordinator): Priefer is a Cleveland native thrilled to be coming home. He has been a special teams coordinator for 12 seasons with the Vikings, Broncos and Chiefs. In 2012 was named the Special Teams Coach of the Year by his peers. Priefer is a graduate of the Naval Academy; he spent five years as an officer flying helicopters, when he served on the USS America in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean. His father Chuck is well known in Cleveland; he coached for years at Padua High School in Parma, Ohio.