Cleveland is now set to hire their ninth full-time head coach since 2000.
In announcing Kitchens' ouster, owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam underscored they did not see the "success or opportunities for improvement to move forward with him as our head coach" and noted they're focused on "hiring an exceptional leader."
Put that more simply: We want someone with head coaching experience.
Whereas Kitchens rose suddenly from running backs coach to offensive coordinator to head coach in half a year, the Browns want the opposite, a stabilizing force who has been through the meatgrinder before.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport on Monday gave us some potential candidates Cleveland is expected to consider in its latest coaching search. In no particular order:
Urban Meyer: The former Ohio State coach brought a college championship to the area and has many supporters in the state. Meyer stepped away for health reasons but has been very visible recently, to which Pelissero notes makes some believe a comeback could be on the horizon.
Josh McDaniels: The Patriots OC has turned down several chances to leave New England, including the high-profile spurning of the Colts two years ago. McDaniels grew up in Canton, Ohio. Pelissero added that while McDaniels has eschewed other opportunities, Cleveland is one he'd entertain. Rapoport reported that the Browns and Panthers are making requests to interview McDaniels, per a source.
Mike McCarthy: The former Packers coach would bring the requisite experience, with a Super Bowl championship and years of working with QBs. McCarthy also has ties to Browns GM John Dorsey from their time together in Green Bay. Cleveland wanted to interview McCarthy last year, but at that point, it was pretty apparent that Kitchens was getting the gig, Pelissero noted. With the Carolina Panthers appearing to be closing in on McCarthy, the Browns could swoop in.
Kevin Stefanski: The Browns have put in a request to interview the Vikings offensive coordinator, Pelissero reported, per a source. He interviewed with the Browns last offseason and was a finalist for the job. Stefanski has no NFL or college head coaching experience. In 2019 under Stefanski, the Vikings had their highest-scoring offense this decade.
Greg Roman: The Ravens OC is expected to be a hot candidate this year after helping revolutionize Baltimore's offense. Roman has never been a head coach, but has extensive experience guiding multiple dual-threat offenses and has proven he can conjure schemes that best fit his personnel.
Brian Daboll: Daboll will interview with the Browns, Pelissero reported. The Bills offensive coordinator has been in Buffalo for the past two seasons. He has never been a head coach at any level, but has been an offensive coordinator for four NFL teams and was the co-offensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban in 2017. Daboll's Bills ranked 24th in total offense (330.2 YPG), 23rd in scoring offense (19.6 PPG) and 22nd in Football Outsiders' Offensive DVOA in 2019.