HC Freddie Kitchens (11.25.19)

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

Opening statement:

“Solid team win for us last night. All three phases contributed. I was proud of their focus during the course of the week. Of course, I was proud of the focus and the resiliency during the course of the game. I was proud of the way all three units kind of played off of each other. We played good complementary football. It was nice to get off to a good fast start and then go out and create a three-and-out, which was very good. That is what you strive to do to start the game to enable you to start fast.


“(QB) Baker (Mayfield) started off well, being efficient with his throws and accuracy. Like I said before, that has a lot to do with people around him doing their job. We did a good job of making some plays down the field. (RBs) Nick (Chubb) and Kareem (Hunt) continue to complement each other and really create buy-in for our whole team from an unselfish standpoint.


“Defensively, we had to make some adjustments because of (DT) Larry (Ogunjobi) and (DE) Myles (Garrett) were not there. (Defensive coordinator) Steve (Wilks) and his staff did a great job of putting those guys in position to make plays. They affected the quarterback. They stopped the run. They did their job of keeping the quarterback in the pocket. They had just as many rushing yards from the quarterback as they did as a team, which is good and bad. It is good that we stop the run but bad that we let the quarterback get out, and that is directly related to our rush lanes and having to stay in our rush lanes. We turn a guy free late in the game for an easy touchdown for them. We did not like that. We will continue to work to get better from that standpoint and finishing the game and finishing the halves on both ends of the spectrum.


“Injury wise, I do not really have anything for you right now. It is still being evaluated and stuff like that.”


On if he feels like the team has matured over the past three weeks, particularly related to playing complementary football:

“I think anytime you go through adversity, you either mature or you wilt. I do not think our team is going to wilt. I think our team is going to continue to strive to get better each and every day, prepare the way they are supposed to prepare and then hopefully go out and perform way on Sundays with execution. I think experience has a lot to do with the sort of thing that you are talking about. We have some guys and we were playing a lot of guys that had not played a whole lot of football in the National Football League. I think as you go along and those guys gain experience, of course, they gain a better feel for how the game is played.”


On what has changed now from the beginning of the season related to the 1-0 mantra:

“I think the wording of it is to go 1-0 this week because that is what we have to do, but our focus and our preparation, nothing should change. We just need to have a little more focus on our focus. We have to have a little more focus on the preparation and then our whole goal at the end of each week is just to go 1-0. That is the way it is throughout the whole year. We kind of had to go into playoff mode a couple of weeks ago, and it is just one game at a time once you get to the playoffs. That is the way it should be all year. I think these guys have just bought into that kind of mantra of 1-0 this week, and that is the only thing we care about. To answer your question, just the wording [has changed] – powerful wording.”


On how unusual the quick turnaround is to play the Steelers twice in three weeks and if there is an expected difference in intensity for this week’s game, given recent events:

“I do not think there would be any difference in intensity. I think our guys are pretty intense every time we line up to play on Sundays. I think we try to be the most physical football team. We try to be the smartest football team. That is what our goal is going to be again this week. It does not matter who we play. We want to be the smartest, toughest football team on the field.”


On what he wants Browns players to know about the expected environment at Pittsburgh this week:

“I want them to go in with one thing and one thing only on their minds, and that is to do their job, and anything that overshadows that in any way is not acceptable and it is not the best for the team. I want guys to show up ready to do their job. All of that other stuff is just fluff. It is just fluff to give people things to talk about leading up to Sunday. At some point on Sunday around 1 p.m., we are going to kick the ball off and that is when it is going to be for real then at that point, and that is when I want them to be at their best.”


On how much credit he gives Hunt in helping the Browns offense improve and get into a rhythm:

“I think Kareem has had a tremendous impact from the standpoint of showing how unselfish he is and then once he has the ball in his hands showing how explosive he can be. You always have to account for where he is, and I think that opens up other guys so I think he has been a tremendous asset.”


On if he feels the offense is excited about what the unit is still capable of doing down the stretch, given C JC Tretter’s comments:

“Yeah, I think they are and I am excited. It is just you only have so many plays in a game so some things get carried over from week to week. We have not gotten the wishbone package out there yet, four backs in the backfield at the same time and all of that kind of stuff. Yeah, I am very excited about it. Hopefully, we can get it called this week.”


On the impact of DT Larry Ogunjobi returning to play this week and DE Olivier Vernon’s status for this week:

“I do not know yet about Olivier. That will be a day-to-day kind of thing moving forward, and of course, Larry will be ready to play. He has been playing well for us during the course of the year and had a good game against Pittsburgh last time, which is only 11 days ago or something now. I expect him to be ready to play.”


On CB Denzel Ward’s performance and where Ward has improved since returning from injury and last season:

“I think he has gotten better at competing on every snap. Denzel is playing really good right now, and he needs to continue, but I want more out of him. I want him to continue to get his hands on balls. When you start getting your hands on footballs, that starts creating turnovers. He is playing really good, and I want more.”


On how appreciative Hunt was after scoring his first touchdown with the Browns and how Hunt has embraced his second chance to play:

“There is no doubt. I do not want to go too deep with you, but sometimes when a person is down and feels like people have given up on him, sometimes that is when you see the best in people. I think Kareem is certainly that. He has a big supporter within myself, this organization, (General Manager) John Dorsey and his teammates, more importantly. Kareem has a big hand in that by returning the favor with his support and of course, his skill on the field. On and off the field, Kareem has continued to try get better each and every day, and he has been doing a great job of that and staying focused in doing that.”


On optimism TE David Njoku will play this week:

“I do not know that yet. We will just have to see. It is a day-to-day kind of thing. I think our tight ends have been doing a pretty good job.”


On if he looks at the standings and projects playoff scenarios, despite the 1-0 mantra:

“No, I do not because if we do not do we are supposed to do, it does not mater anyways.”


# # #