HC Freddie Kitchens (12.16.19)

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

Opening statement:

“Yesterday clearly is not the result we wanted. We have to continue to work this week and try to get the desired result at the end of the week. We have to take it to the game on Sunday, and then once we do that, we will start seeing those results. Offensively, I thought we were good on third down. We were able to run the ball effectively. We started fast in the passing game, got down close to the red zone and threw an interception. We can’t have the turnover and hit a lull there in the passing, but then we were able to run the ball. Defensively, we were not able to stop the run. We have to do a better job of shedding blocks, getting off and making tackles. Special teams wise, I thought we did a good job of covering kicks. Their average starting field position was the 18-yard line, which is exceptional, but ours in the return game on kickoff returns was the 21-yard line, which we need to get better.”


On the biggest problem on defense yesterday:

“Not fitting our gaps and shedding blocks. I thought they did a good job of putting our eyes in the wrong place. We did not do a good enough job once we were in situations to make the play – we did not make the plays.”


On how to correct defensive errors prior to the Ravens game:

“We do not have much time to fix it so we have to get started on it. We started on it today, making corrections on the tape getting our guys eyes in the right place and then when you have a one-on-one matchup, you have to beat your defender.”


On if the mistakes made yesterday are the same made in the Bengals game:

“The game of football is about one-on-one matchups and winning those one-on-one matchups. We have to do a better job defensively of beating the guy that is in front of us. Yes, in that sense, usually you can attest it to winning a one-on-one matchup.”


On results and momentum swings when failing to execute on opening drives, specifically on the pass intended to WR Odell Beckham Jr.:

“Every football is about ebbs and flows throughout the game. A lot of times on the road, you have to weather the storm. The home team usually starts fast. We have done a good job of starting fast, whether we have been on the road or at home. We were in the same situation. We started fast. I think (QB) Baker (Mayfield) was 5-6 on the first drive and then we had the unfortunate interception. Our playmakers are going to make plays, and when they do not, I am sure they are the first to tell you that they wish they had. That is one he wished he had back, but hell, I wish I had a couple of calls back. Everybody can do a better job of doing their job on a consistent basis every play. You are not going to make every play. He will make the next one. I have total confidence that he will make the next one.”


On pinpointing why the Browns offense is not as productive as desired:

“There are probably a lot of different answers for that, but I know this – I know we have a chance this week to get better this week and that is what we are going to be focused on. Every year is different. I know numbers are not the same and all that. Every year is different. Every situation is different. Every road game is different. Every home game is different. You can’t just pinpoint it on one thing. It is a bunch of little things, and we are working to clear those things up and continue to get better. There is a lot we can gain. We can still gain a lot these last two weeks. It starts by this first week. We have a big game this week, and we have to get ready to play.”


On the difference in play calling this year compared to the last eight games of the 2018 season:

“Every year is different. Every game is different. Most of the people that touch the ball are (RB) Kareem (Hunt), (RB) Nick (Chubb), (WR) Jarvis (Landry) or Odell so we have four guys that have the ability to make plays. Of course, you can’t just center it on one person. Everything is involved in it – protection, route running, making throws, hitting holes and all those sort of things. When you have things that break down from time to time, then you are not as efficient. I think we were almost 65 percent on third down yesterday so that is good and still had the opportunity to be better than that. We need to work on those opportunities to get better in those situations. We only punted twice. If we can eliminate those two punts, I would be happier. There are always things to work on to continue to get better. Every year is different. Play calling changes from game to game and series to series on what we are trying to get done.”


On if play calling is significantly different than his time as offensive coordinator last season:

“I really do not know. Is the play calling different? Yeah, the play calling is different because the situations change. I do not know how in depth you want to get, but what I called on second-and-10 last year in the 14th game, I do not know. I would have to go back and check.”


On if Mayfield could have thrown to Beckham and on the third down that resulted in an incompletion intended for Landry, given Beckham looked open on TV:

“Yeah, he could throw to any of them, but that was a bad play call. That was my fault.”


On why it was a bad play call:

“We did not execute it. We did not do it right. It was a bad call, a bad situation.”


On if he would have liked Mayfield to get the ball to Beckham on that play, given it appeared Beckham broke free:

“No, I would like for me to make a better call.”


On if he hopes for another chance to prove he can coach this team after the season, given his comment yesterday that he ‘did not care about his future’:

“Let me clarify in a sense. I care about my job. I only care though about getting better today. That is what I was trying to illustrate is I am only focused on today on getting this football team to play the best of their ability today and to increase those chances of us getting to that point on Sunday of playing the best that we can on Sunday. Everybody here is focused on that. Dee and Jimmy Haslam and (General Manager) John Dorsey would much rather me be worried about getting our team to play better than be worried about my job security. The only thing I was trying to illustrate is the fact that I am only concerned about what we are doing as a football today, and that is it. Of course, I want to be back. Listen, we can make it all bad all we want, but we have done some good things this year. We have the leading rusher in the league. We have two receivers over [900 yards]. I do not even know where they rank now, but nobody has a 1,000-yard rusher, a 1,000-yard receiver and another receiving almost 900 yards. Defensively, up until yesterday, we were second in the league in third downs and getting off the field. We were ranked pretty high in the red zone and making guys kick field goals. We just need to execute better when we get to the critical moments in a game. There is a lot of good here. It is just we get so swept up in the negative that we can’t see the positives. That is what we need to continue to try and focus on in our building and that is the main reason you try to block out the noise and just concentrate on getting better. That is what I want to do as a coach and that is what I want my players to do as players. I think that they have done a good job of that during the course of the year.”


On why the Browns have been unable to bring everything together despite production in several categories:

“It is critical moments in the game. Everybody in this room [knows] – I know we have football savvy people [in the room] – so there is always a moment in the game where you have to make the play to win the game or you don’t make the play and you lose the game. It is in those critical moments that we have to do a better job of making the right call or executing better. That is what it comes down to.”


On if making plays at critical moments is a matter of mental toughness, experience or another factor:

“Every year is different like I have said, but we have a young core of a team here. Everything we are doing is for the first time. In a sense, every time that we have went on the road, it has been something different. We have to adjust, make exceptions for that and do a better job of preparing them, do a better job of playing when we get to the game and executing. Those are all experiences. You gain experience by going through the fire and doing it. I think we have a lot of guys that are gaining valuable experience of doing that, and it is going to serve us well going forward.”


On Landry’s passion and if it is understood there may be moments where Landry will express that passion on the sideline, referring to the moment caught by the TV broadcast in the second half:

“I wouldn’t change Jarvis for anything. Jarvis plays the game with passion, which I love. He is tough. He is physical. He wants to win. When you want to win as badly as Jarvis does, sometimes your emotion gets the best of you. I don’t have a problem with Jarvis. He is one of my favorites the way he plays the game, him as a person and everything.”


On if it is meaningful to him when players like Landry and Beckham stand up for him and are behind him after the game:

“I like the guys I coach. I like the guys our coaches coach on a daily basis. I like the energy and the passion our guys play with. In our room and in our building, we are in it together. These guys will continue to play together. We built that through being through the fire together. It doesn’t surprise me, no, but understand where that comes from. That comes from work together, going through the fires together. We are going to stay together these last two weeks. I don’t care what happens, these guys will stay together. They have demonstrated that. Now, we just have to perform better.”


On the team staying together for the final two weeks and how to avoid overreacting to potential changes that may need to be made for the future:

“That is down the road. We have to get ready for a big football game, a divisional football game this week. Our energy can’t be focused on two weeks. I am sorry I can’t answer that question for you, but seriously, I am in it today and trying to get them better today. That is it. That is where our guys’ focus is. I am pretty sure that is where (General Manager) John Dorsey’s focus is – getting better today.”


On Mayfield’s performance and development and if Mayfield can become a consistently winning NFL QB:

“He definitely can get to that place and he will get to that place. Baker is a young guy. He is learning, too. He is not a finished product. I have said that before. He works his tail off every day to try to get better, and that is where I want his focus and that is where his focus is. Let everybody else do the judging. We will continue to work as a group to get better. Baker falls into that mindset.”


On the skillsets of first-round picks Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and if Mayfield has the talent to produce as well as QBs who are winning with those different skillsets:

“Yeah, but we were having a different conversation last year. Baker needs to play better. The guys around him need to play better. He understands that. We know who we drafted, and I am happy as hell that we drafted him. He is going to be our quarterback for a long time, and he needs to continue to get better, just like we all do. I need to get better at calling plays. I need to get better at a lot of things – so does our right tackle, our left guard, our safety, our corner – everybody needs to get better. Baker is not a finished product. He understands that, but that is the guy we drafted, that is the guy we believe in and that is the guy the locker room believes in and this organization believes in. I am not worried about Baker. He is going to continue to get better. Every year is different. Don’t just judge stats to stats.”


On when do actions speak louder than words in regards to his message that the team needs to execute better in all areas, including his play calling:

“I don’t know if you have figured this out, but that is always going to be my response when we don’t execute. If we don’t win the game, I need to call better plays. If we don’t win the game, we need to execute better. It is all about the result. That is the only thing that I am looking for is the result. My answer to that question is never going to change.”


On if there was any indication the Browns defense quit at points of Sunday’s game:

“Those guys kept fighting. I don’t think there is any quit in anybody out there. I don’t know how you distinguish that, but I know those guys fought to the very end.”


On if the Browns defense has reached a point to where the absence of multiple players has created a strain on the unit, specifically DEs Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon:

“We are never going to make excuses, but we did have two pretty good ends. We had two safeties that were playing pretty good. That is never going to be an excuse. We need to keep playing better around them and around the guys that are substituting in. They played hard. We just need to execute defensively. We need to shed blocks better. We just need to do our jobs better.”


On if there is a potential need to encourage the defense and lift the unit up after a tough result on Sunday:

“Yeah, I think so. I think that is part of my job. I think that also falls in the realm of what they need to do for each other. We need to continue to play for each other. I don’t have any doubt that we will do that, and that is kind of our job at this point.”


On if he understands fans’ disappointment following Sunday’s loss:

“I always want them to be disappointed if we don’t get the desired results. I am disappointed. Our locker room is disappointed. We also know we have to move onto the next week.”


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