On Monday, Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens made it loud and clear that the team was going to have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to leaked information. Any coach who goes to the media and releases team-related information will be out of a job immediately. Even though the NFL is the epitome of fighting every day for your job, is it going a step too far for Kitchens to fire a member of his staff for simply talking to the media?
Well, it depends.
On one hand, it could be difficult for a coach to straight-up fire an assistant for letting something slip to the media. What if that person is a defensive coordinator who is really excelling at his job? It’d seem a little nuts to send someone like that packing. It’d also kick up a massive story and surround the team with a bunch of noise which it doesn’t need.
Obviously, if it’s an offensive line coach like Bob Wylie leaking the news then it’d be pretty easy to fire that kind of guy. Of course, it would be weird for a couple of weeks but the team would probably figure it out.
But on the other hand, the Browns can not afford any sort of leaks to the media with the current configuration of the team.
Right now Cleveland has one of the most talented rosters in the entire NFL but also one of the youngest. And with youth brings immaturity.
It has been happening for years in the NFL. Young players let the media get into their heads and it affects the way they play. Every once in a while a team will run into someone like Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson, who enter the league extremely mature. But more often than not they will be closer to Odell Beckham Jr. or Ezekiel Elliot’s attitudes.
Which leads me to my next point.
Now that Beckham Jr. is on the roster, there will be a microscope on the franchise. It has been well documented that the way in which Beckham Jr., departed N.Y. Giants was not a pretty one. The last thing a rookie head coach needs in his star player getting triggered by the media while also trying to get rid of any other leaks.
To me, it seems like a coach who is trying to get the attention and respect of his staff right from the get-go. But this is a good way to ruffle some of the other assistant’s feathers which is one of the reasons why former head coach Hue Jackson lost his job last season. There was no chemistry among the staff which inevitably ended in the firings of Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
Either way, you look at it Kitchens is going to have his hands full this season and the media will be documenting it ever so closely.
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77