HC Freddie Kitchens (12.11.19)

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

Opening statement:

“Looking forward to getting back on the practice field today and start preparation for Arizona. Our focus remains on our preparation. Offensively, it all starts with (Cardinals QB) Kyler (Murray). He does a good job with his feet, as well as his arm. He is having a very strong rookie year. He is developing as an overall good player in this league. They are dangerous with (Cardinals RB) David (Johnson). He still makes plays. (Cardinals WR) Larry (Fitzgerald) has been a fixture there, one of the greatest of all time. Everyone knows Larry and the type of person he is and the competitor he is. I have nothing but great things to say about Larry. Defensively, they fly around and they get to the ball. (Cardinals OLB) Chandler (Jones) leads the league with 14 sacks and causes disruption on the football. He has six caused fumbles, and he is disruptive in the run and pass game so our tackles have to do a good job of handling him. (Cardinals FS) Budda Baker is a playmaker. He loves to play the game of football and competes on every play. Special teams, they have a very good team, very good in the return game and coverage unit is very physical so we have our work cut out for us this week.”


On DE Olivier Vernon’s status:
“He will be day to day. Day to day just to see how he improves.”


On the status of T Chris Hubbard and TE Demetrius Harris:

“We will see as we go through the week.”


On if anyone else will miss practice on Wednesday:

“(LB) Sione (Takitaki) is sick, and that is about the only one. (C) JC (Tretter), I do not know how well he will practice today so we will see when we get out there. It will be depending on how he feels once he starts moving around.”


On if he is looking forward to returning to Arizona:

“Really, it is just the next game. I spent 11 years there so I have a lot of close friends and stuff like that there, but it is football season. It is just the next game.”


On the matchup between the Browns and Cardinals in 2007 that cost the Browns a playoff berth:

“Yeah, I remember they threw a ball up to the (former Browns TE Kellen) Winslow (II) in the corner and that was the first year they changed the rule that you could push them out of bounds. He jumped up for the ball at the front pylon and pushed him out of bounds or they would have won the game. I think my memory is pretty keen there.”


On playing in State Farm Stadium:

“It is a great home field advantage for them, a great playing surface. Of course, you can open the roof there. That is kind of a fascination. It is a tremendous environment, a great stadium. The weather is good or it depends on what you like.”


On Cardinals QB Kyler Murray:

“Anytime the quarterback has the potential to pull it down on third-and-four or third-and-six and get it with his feet, I think that is a great attribute. He can do that at any time. He is seeing the field well, and he is brave from the standpoint of he likes to fit balls in tight windows and things like that. He kind of plays fearless, and that is the trait of good quarterbacks – smart but fearless – and I think he does a good job of that.”


On Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald and Fitzgerald’s ability to be productive a this stage of his career:

“Larry loves the game first and foremost. He is probably one of the hardest workers I know. He works, he practices and he works. He does a great job of staying in the moment and trying to get better each day. He is a prime example of just continuing to work. Everybody thought he was declining six years into his career, and he just hit a new level. The playoff run that we had in 2008, his ball skills are second to none. His ball skills are impeccable. He just loves the game and he competes, and it means something to him. It matters to him. He wants to win. He works. All the little attributes that make up a good football player, he is off the charts with.”


On how close has the team come to having a complete game since the Ravens game:

“We continue to try to put everything together from the standpoint of playing great complementary football. I thought we did that the other day to a certain extent with not the success rate that we wanted because we had some turnovers and things of that nature, but we just need to continue to just to play. Just go play the game and just do what you can, improve, play the game, play the game by a play-by-play basis, not worry about the result and just go play the play.”


On if playing together other has been a mantra for the team in recent weeks:

“Yeah, back in April or May. It is the same. The message has not changed. It only matters what is in the locker room. That is the only thing that ever matters. Of course, they play together. They play together. They stay together. It goes back to when adversity hits, you are going to run together instead of running apart, and I think we have done a good job of that and maintaining that throughout the year because there have been difficult moments and these guys have remained together and stayed together and have done well in the past month and a half. When you hit situations like that, it can go either north or south. We chose to go north with it.”


On QB Baker Mayfield’s biggest improvements on the field:

“I think he continues to identify pressures, and I think his eyes are getting better. He is not a finished product. He is a second-year player. He is seeing more coverages this year, he is seeing different looks. He knows where he wants to go with the ball most of the time, and he does a good job of identifying and being able to communicate and understanding what we can do to attack certain instances. Just his overall and feel. I told you guys before, playing quarterback is like taking 1,000 pictures all at once and you just have to build your repertoire of the pictures that you see when a ball is snapped. What are the safeties doing? What is the linebacker doing? What are they more likely to do in this instance? He continues to build his book of pictures per say in his mind.”


On the Browns leaving for Arizona Friday and continuing to prepare upon arrival:

“Our Friday will be normal. We will wake up there and our Saturday will be normal. Everything will be a normal-type schedule as opposed to one day before.”


On what the team will do on Saturday:

“We will find a place to walkthrough out there. We like to get out the hotel and go walkthrough and kind of maintain our normal schedule. Everything we do when we travel, we try to maintain as much normalcy as we can.”


On why the Browns are headed to Arizona on Friday:

“The game is a 2 p.m. game out there, which is 4 p.m. game so that is really not a big factor. It is really just so you are not traveling that distance the day before the game. Different people do it different ways. I was in Arizona for 11 years, and it is a lot different when you are traveling from west to east.”


On Cardinals OLB Chandler Jones:

“He is a big guy, tremendous length. He attacks the football when he is around the football. His hands and his length help him get to points where the football are that a lot of people can not do from a physical standpoint, and then his motor is tremendous. For him to do what he does is pretty remarkable. He really does not come off the field and that is a great testament to him as a player. He can bend and dip and get low and then he has the strength and length to bull rush you. He is a very good refined pass rusher.”


On DE Bryan Cox:

“Bryan is a young player that is going to continue to develop. He has a tremendous motor. He has never seen a play that he wanted to take off. He is going to finish the plays and continues to work. I think he is feeling a little more comfortable now in the system of what his role and his responsibility is. He just needs to continue to keep his head down and keep doing that.”


On WR Rashard Higgins not playing on offense last week:

“We try to play the players that give us the best chance to win each and every week. That is strictly a week-to-week thing so it may be different this week than it was last week. It may be different next week than it is this week.”


On similarities between Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson:

“I do not really like to get into comparing players to players, but I know that Kyler offers the innate ability to make you miss in space and so does Lamar. Lamar is a very physical type runner, just his body type, a tremendous player and everybody knows that. Kyler has the innate ability to make you miss and keep the chains moving. His ability to run the no-huddle offense is pretty good of the standpoint of he is a rookie.”


On if Mayfield had a personal meeting with the medical staff following Sunday’s comments:

“Anything we do like that will be handled with us. We have put that behind us.”


On if Mayfield is trusting his instincts more as a runner and determining when to scramble:

“I think that point in time is when Baker turns into a football player and not a quarterback, and I think that is his first instincts. Anytime he can do things with his legs, we encourage it as long as he stays out of harm’s way.”


On if he knows Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury well:

“I just met him. Spent some time with him at different events and stuff.”


On if he had an eye on what Kingsbury did offensively at Texas Tech:

“As a coach, you are always looking for different things to make you better. You are never a finished product. You are always trying to evolve as a coach and understand when people have success and try to see why and how and when they do. I am sure at some point we ran across some tape that they were doing. I know the gist of what they do.”


On his first memory of seeing Mayfield play and his impression of him:

“On tape or in person? I would go back to your comment or asking me about it all comes down to execution. It does not matter. I think sometimes we get so caught up in systems, and it is about execution. [First time watching Mayfield play in person], I remember thinking in person I loved his arm strength. I loved his accuracy. That was it. I loved his fight and his competitiveness. I think all the intangibles that you saw, that is what I liked the most.”


On if the Cardinals offense is significantly different than other NFL offenses the Browns have faced this year:

“I think at the core of it, no because their job and what they try to do is move the chains and get another set of downs. They have 500-something no-huddle plays and the next closest team is 100-something. They are going to run that, and we have to line up and defend it. Sometimes there is a lot window dressing, and it is the same play. I think that is kind of the key.”


On why the NFL was initially slower to adopt Air Raid offensive philosophies and why that has changed recently:

“I think you have to go all the way back to like high school because at first high schools were doing it. Colleges started doing it and then the NFL started doing some of those things. The evolution per se of just the simple fact that when you go evaluate guys, you have to evaluate with what you see. Sometimes what you see is what they do best, and what they do best, you are not very bright if you try to totally change them. I think that is probably the key, but it all starts in high school. I have got a buddy of mine that is coaching at Tennessee now who started at Hoover High School in Birmingham. He started as defensive coordinator at Hoover High School. He moved on to Alabama. A few years later, he ended up being the defensive coordinator at Florida State, defensive coordinator at Georgia and then back at Alabama. His ideas to defend that was already set in stone, and it all stemmed from high school. If you are a college and try to go find a pro-style quarterback in high school, it is very difficult these days. I think that kind of carries over.”


On if he uses the way the Cardinals played the 49ers when preparing the team:

“This is the NFL so anybody can win any game. I do not understand where wins become not good wins. Any win is a good win. In saying that, they have had a lot of games that their record could be totally different with a couple tipped balls here and there. Everybody around the league is that way and for the good also. Sometimes you win some games out of fortunate. Sometimes you lose some games out of misfortune. We have to line up and play, and we should not overlook anybody. We should line up and play our best individually, collectively, good complementary football, execute and do the best we can on Sunday.”


On if T Kendall Lamm could start at RT again Sunday, even if Hubbard is healthy:

“We will see where we are at the end of the week, but I am very pleased with the way Kendall competed. He had not played football in [12] weeks. I want him to continue to get better and worry about the rest of that stuff on Sunday. I want him prepared to play.”


On how much he and defensive coordinator Steve Wilks have talked about their experiences in Arizona:
“I think Steve does a good job of keeping things compartmentalized and staying focused on what he has to do this week to win the game. I do not think it is neither here nor there. Yeah, we do not talk about that too much.”


On if he knows Wilks’ favorite restaurant in Arizona:

“I know where his favorite restaurant is. I saw him there in Phoenix last summer or sometime.”


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