HC Freddie Kitchens (11.4.19)

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

Opening statement:

“As we said last night, we are all disappointed in the result yesterday. We need to continue to try to play better, execute better and execute better in critical points in the game. We have to be better in the red zone of course, and we have to realize and get off the field on defense. I thought special teams played a big part in the game and kept us in the game. Our kicker (Austin Seibert) was five out of five, counting the extra point, which is a good thing. I thought we punted the ball and covered well with the exception of one kickoff.”


On an injury update:

“We do not really have a full update on them until later this afternoon probably.”


On S Jermaine Whitehead’s social media posts last night:

“We released a statement last night. I will just stand by that statement.”


On if he has protocols for players and their social media use:

“We try to educate our players into using social media for their advantage and certainly not their disadvantage as a general rule. That is what we try to educate them on to do, and I think for the most part, we do a good job of that.”


On if he wishes to expand on Whitehead threating people on social media:

“We released a statement last night. We do not condone that type of behavior, talk or anything like that.”


On RB Dontrell Hilliard being on the field rather than RB Nick Chubb on fourth-and-1 inside the 5-yard line:

“We were running a quarterback sneak there. With Dontrell on the field, we would be more likely to get a passing-type box to enable us to have a better success rate at running the quarterback sneak. We were running a quarterback sneak there on fourth-and-1.”


On running a QB sneak on fourth-and-1 rather than handing the ball to Chubb, who rarely loses yards on a carry:

“If it is fourth-and-1, you have a couple different options. You can turn it around and hand the ball off 7 yards back in the backfield to try to gain 1 yard or you can take your quarterback and get 1 yard with it. It did not work so it is going to be second guessed.”


On if he envisions RB Kareem Hunt taking on some responsibility as the team’s third down RB:

“I am very much looking forward to Kareem being with us and being able to play. Kareem is a good football player, and he will definitely have a role.”


On the cleat situation with WRs Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry cleat situation and Whitehead’s postgame comments being ‘symbolic of dysfunction’:

“I asked the guys to take the cleats off and they took the cleats off. I did not recognize the cleats during the game. I do not really look at their cleats. It was brought to my attention that they need to take the cleats off. I asked them to take the cleats off and they took their cleats off. There is no dysfunction there.”


On if Browns players have too much lead way:

“I feel like any time if it got potential to hurt the team than that is not a good thing, but they did not hurt the team. They took their cleats off when they were told to take their cleats off.”


On the cleat situation getting to the point where the league has to call and tell them that they are in violations:

“The NFL has a fine system for that. They did not hurt the team by the cleats that they were wearing.”


On the Browns changing uniforms to the primary colors instead of white jerseys and the ‘late decision’ to do so:

“Our uniforms were decided – they were not decided last week – it was back in the summer some time.”


On what is missing:



On elaborating on what is missing:

“We go out every day and try to improve our execution. We try to play better on Sundays, and in a lot of areas, we did play better. We just have to execute when we get into the red zone and we have to execute better in critical situations. When you get into the red zone, the field shrinks. You have to be more precise in everything you do, whether it is running, blocking, receiving, running routes, throwing, everything. You have to have a better sense of awareness and instincts so we have to continue to try to get better in those areas.”


On if confidence is an issue in critical situations like red zone offense:

“I do not think so. I think our guys have total confidence that they can get the job done. I think there was never a doubt that we were going to win the game until we did not win the game. Look forward for that to continue. We are going to start on Buffalo later this afternoon. We will put a good plan together. We will go out and execute good and see where we are at the end.”


On other potential lineup changes the Browns could consider, similar to the changes at LT two weeks ago:

“I think (LT) Greg (Robinson) responded well to that. He played pretty good yesterday. He gave up a couple pressures. He was pretty solid in the run game. The things I would take away from this game that was very good that we made improvements on – we did not have any penalties on offense and did not turn the ball over so we are always going to have a chance to win. Now, we just have to execute better. As far as the execution goes, that goes on a player-by-player basis. It could be this player this time, this player another time. Overall, we just need to execute better. I think everybody would agree with that sentiment.”


On QB Baker Mayfield stating postgame that Mayfield believed he converted the fourth-and-1 and if that led to the challenge:

“You definitely factor that into it, but we also felt like he made, it too. I was trying to buy some time to see if we could get any more looks at it. You have different amounts of cameras at some of these games and you have more in others. I thought he made it.”


On needing more precision and execution:

“We are going to go out this week and continue to try and execute. It falls on different people at different times. We just have to overall do a better job of executing. I thought these guys accepted the challenge last week of cutting down the penalties and turnovers, and that gave us a chance to win. Now, it falls on the execution and executing what is there.”


On why Mayfield is not making throws and reads typically made last year:

“I think overall, the whole offense needs to execute better in that situation.”


On if he wanted the ball to go to Beckham on the last offensive play:

“I am not saying where the ball should have went. I just know we should have executed better.”


On TE Demetrius Harris catching the ball out of bounds in the back of the end zone, a play repped in practice:

“I think Demetrius will be the first to tell you that he has to have better awareness on where he is on the field. It was an uncontested catch. We just have to have better awareness.”


On if Harris would have potentially been able to get both feet down with better field awareness:

“You would have to look at the tape. Yeah, I think so. That was just one option in the play. It is one of those things where we just have to do a better job of executing. It is truly just about execution at that point. When the field diminishes –we called that from 9 [yard line] – you have to be real precise in your execution and you have to be precise with your landmarks so the little details can never get lost. The closer, they actually have to ramp up the details of route running and the precision in routes, throws protections and things because the room for error diminishes when you are down that tight.”


On what is not translating from the practice week to gameday:

“Again, I think the result in the game is not what we wanted, but we had 10 drives offensively yesterday. We had 10 drives – seven of them should have resulted in points. We ended two drives on fourth down, and we scored on five drives. We did not score enough touchdowns in the red zone or the conversation would be different. just simply put, you know? We have to convert. We have to be more successful in the red zone. We have to play better red zone football.”


On Mayfield working most closely with quarterbacks coach Ryan Lindley and why former Browns quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese was not retained for another season:

“I have total confidence in our staff. I think Ryan is doing a good job with Baker. As far as Kenny is concerned, I am not going to respond to that.”


On Beckham having few targets in the red zone this season and if the team needs to target him more in the red zone:

“I think we need to execute better.”


On if there are coaching points on DT Sheldon Richardson’s personal foul or if it was an unfortunate circumstance:

“As much as I would like to, I am not going to respond to any official calls or anything. You guys saw it.”


On if the Browns should further emphasize targeting Beckham in the red zone, which could lead to better execution:

“I think you have defenses that do different things down in the red zone, and we try to put ourselves in the best situation that we can to be successful. Then you look at the red zone and you see why are you not successful? Is it the execution or the plays you are calling? Is it the execution or the people that you are targeting? It could be a little bit of both, and we evaluate that on a daily and a weekly basis.”


On if going to Browns playmakers more would be an easy answer to improving execution:

“I think that is an easy answer, but that answer does not always exist. Sometimes there are other factors that factor in as far as their coverages go. You can’t just rely on one coverage when you are saying we are throwing the ball right here. You have to read it out and you have to understand what they are doing from a coverage standpoint to get the ball to certain people.”


On if the bar was set too high for the team’s expectations this season:

“Honestly, our expectations are on how we prepare and how we play. Our expectations have not met from within on how we play. We truly try not to get into the exceptions outside of this building. That is when you get in trouble. I think our guys have done a good job of that, but what they have to understand – I think that they do – is our expectations on how we prepare. Now, we have to get it to carry over on the Sundays on how we execute.”


On if something happened around the Seahawks game that has impacted WR Rashard Higgins’ playing time:

“It is not impacting Rashard’s playing time. I am not going to respond to that. That was, again, three weeks ago. We are starting today. We need to be 1-0 at the end of this week. This time next week, we need to be 1-0. It is truly one game at a time. I want to see us being resilient. I want us to see us having resolve to stay in the moment preparing this week. I know that is what we are doing as a coaching staff, I feel like that is what we are going to do as players and I think that is what we are doing as an organization. In saying all of that, we want to stay in the moment with this week. These first eight games do not matter. It is not where we want to be, but it is where we are and that is who our record is so we have to own that, but we also have recognize the fact that we have a new week this week that we have to prepare or else we are going to be answering or talking about the same things that we were talking about last week. We need to rectify our problems and get them fixed this week for this Sunday’s game and have different results.”


On the challenge with the current records within the AFC North and managing the team’s mindset with Baltimore’s lead:

“I would say the same thing I told the team today – we can’t do anything about Baltimore. We can’t do anything about the New England game. We can’t do anything about the Tennessee game. The only thing we can do anything about is the Buffalo game, and that is where our focus is going to be because if we do not do Buffalo, we are just going to fall further and further back. If we do not do whoever we have after Buffalo, it is further and further back and then we are going to be sitting there saying ifs and whats and whens, and if we would have done this starting at Week 8 or Week 9, then it would be different. Let’s just start it this week and let’s just say concentrate on this week. That is the only thing, and see where we are at. We can’t control Baltimore, we can’t control Pittsburgh and we can’t control Cincinnati until we play them, and then we can. This week, we control ourselves on how we prepare for Buffalo, which is an excellent team which their record indicates.”


On if he is satisfied with where the team is in terms of the culture wants to create as head coach:

“I am never going to be satisfied with where it is at. I think it is always an evolving thing where the more and more people understand your expectations you have on them, they end up putting those same expectations on each other, and I think that is where you get culture. I think we have made leaps and bounds as far as how we approach our business on a daily basis at practice and how we approach our meetings. I think our guys are pretty prepared on Sunday, and I think they would reveal that same thing. Now, we just have to go out, coaching has to be better on Sundays and execution has to be better on Sundays.”


On if he was pretty happy with the team’s performance against the Broncos, outside of inefficiencies in the red zone:

“Yes, I think it is hard to see whenever you are at the record, but anytime you can take seven out of 10 drives and end up with opportunities to score, that is pretty good. You would like to have 10 out of 10, but that is pretty good. The fact of the matter is we were one out of five in the red zone.”


On if Whitehead’s hand injury affected his tackling against the Broncos:
“A bunch of our guys at this time of year, across the league, you are playing hurt. There is a difference between being injured and hurt. We would never put a guy out there that is injured.”


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