HC Freddie Kitchens (12.18.19)

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

Opening statement:

“Obviously, we are playing a very good Baltimore team this week. Historic rushing game. Their quarterback (Ravens QB) Lamar (Jackson) is playing at an MVP-type level. He has accounted for 40 touchdowns or so. (Ravens RB) Mark Ingram (II) can run the ball very efficiently. They have one of the better offensive lines in football. Defensively, they are playing together. They are playing fast and physical. They are a different team than when we played them the first time. They traded for (Ravens CB) Marcus Peters of course. They have some injured guys back that did not play the last time we played them so we have our work cut out for us. They have a Pro Bowl specialist, their kicker (Ravens K Justin Tucker) is one of the best in the league and they do a great job on coverage units.”


On what has been most impressive about Jackson’s evolution and improvement, particularly given how some people initially evaluated his NFL potential:

“From what I have seen on tape and what I saw going into the first game, he has done a tremendous job of understanding coverages better. They have done a tremendous job with him, coaching him, understanding coverages and knowing where he wants to go with the ball. He has become very accurate. Also, he can always tuck the ball, run and make 30 or 40 yards. Make no mistake, this is a quarterback. Lamar Jackson is a quarterback, and he is looking to throw the ball and he has been doing it very, very effectively.”


On if Jackson is an exception to the rule by improving his accuracy, given some coaches don’t believe accuracy can be coached:

“I know he has probably spent tremendous amount of work over the summer to get the best that he can from himself, and I think that is a testament to Lamar.”


On how Ravens CB Marcus Peters changes the Ravens defense:

“It enables them to play a little more man coverage and pressure a little more, and they have had the unique ability to play up front. They have been up on people being ahead, and it is a lot easier playing defense when you are ahead. They have done a really good job of creating those opportunities for themselves.”


On if there are items from the first Ravens-Browns game that are applicable to Sunday:

“Oh, I think so. In the run game, we did some good things. We know that we have to be able to run the ball, and we have to be able to run the ball when we want to run the ball, but that is the case with every team in the National Football League. We have to create explosive plays. That is how you win football games.”


On if the win over the Ravens in Week 4 was the best the team could be or of it was a fluke:

“If we play together, we play great complementary football and we execute, we are a very good football team. When we do not, we are just like anybody else.”


On if it has been frustrating that the team has not been able to be consistent and play as well as the Browns did at Baltimore:

“When you do not have success, there is always frustration. Of course, we have a lot of competitors on this team. Frustration grows sometimes from the standpoint of you know what you could be but you are not there due to lack of execution or due to whatever. Whoever you want to blame, it does not matter. but the end result is the same – you are not where you are supposed to be and you are not where you think you should be so of course there is frustration.”


On if it was too much to ask for that the Week 4 performance in Week 4 at Baltimore to be duplicated throughout the year:

“We try to go out every week and prepare and play our best. I expect our guys to do that this week and we will go put our best foot forward on Sunday and see where we are. We just want to compete and win more one-on-one matchups than we lose and then we have a great chance of winning. Execute, put our guys in good situations to execute and then when they get the opportunities, we have to make plays.”


On if he would agree with RB Kareem Hunt’s comment that he did not believe all teammates ‘gave the same 110% that he was’:

“Whenever I talk to players, that will stay between us like I have always said. I think Kareem is a great competitor. I think Kareem puts everything out on the field every time he walks out on the field – practice or games, it does not matter. He loves the game of football, and I do not think there is anything wrong with challenging your teammates. I have said this before about Kareem and (RB) Nick (Chubb), those two are great competitors and they are always working hard. I think that is what it is.”


On challenges facing Jackson and the Ravens without DE Myles Garrett:

“Lamar in himself, everybody knows he is a great player, but anytime you lose somebody of the stature of Myles, it definitely hurts. There are no excuses going on here. We have to play better up front. We have to play better at the linebacker spot. We have to play better at the secondary. If we have opportunities to make tackles, we have to make tackles. That is what defensive football is about. It is about being consistent on your gap control and then when you have the opportunity to make tackles, you make them. Our guys are going to work hard this week to get to the point where we can do that again.”


On the Ravens defense’s success:

“They are consistently good on defense every year. I think they are ranked sixth in defense this year. Their ability to make plays on the ball. Convert on third downs for them is very tough. Physical. They are going to get you in situations where you are behind the chains or try to and you have to convert, and you have to stay on the field and they want to get off the field. They have done a good job of that. I think adding pieces just made them better. They were good when we played them last time, too.”


On if there are similarities to the way teams have defended Jackson since Week 4, when the Browns recorded multiple interceptions:

“It all depends on their individual scheme when they are preparing for them. Probably try to correlate certain things. At the end of the day, our guys made plays. You just mentioned two interceptions, and our guys made the plays to win the game. You win in the National Football League by being plus in takeaway/giveaway and executing. Our guys did a great job of executing that day – offensively, defensively and special teams. That is what it takes to win on a consistent basis. You have to execute, and our guys did that, that day. With every team, it is about winning the turnover battle. You can’t lose the turnover battle and win too many games in the National Football League. They have lost two games. They lost the turnover battle in one of them that they lost, and the other one they won in overtime. To me, it is pretty simple. You take care of the football, you make plays and you put yourself in a position to win games.”


On what QB Baker Mayfield can potentially do to improve in the offseason:

“I think Baker is focused on this week, where I want his focus. I do not want him worried about the offseason. We have got two games left and we still have a lot to play for so I want him focused on this week.”


On DE Olivier Vernon’s status and if Vernon may be able to play Sunday:

“I think he is close. I do not know if he will get there or not. We will see at the end of the week.”


On T Kendall Lamm’s status and if Lamm’s knee injury is the same as the one sustained earlier this year:
“No, it is not the same. I do not know if I want to comment specifically what we had, but he will not be practicing today. (C) JC (Tretter) probably will not practice today, too, if you guys wanted to know that.”


On if Ravens DT Brandon Williams will have an impact on the Browns’ ability to run the ball, given Williams did not play in Week 4:

“He is a very, very good player. They have good players all over the field on defense and offense. They had 12 Pro Bowlers so they have good players. Brandon Williams is one of those good players so of course, we have to account for him.”


On if he finds it hard to believe WR Jarvis Landry would say anything to Cardinals players about his future, giving reports of Landry saying ‘come get me’:

“I can only go off of what I am shown and what they communicate to me, and I have not seen anything in that nature. I know the speculation. I do not know where it started, but I got the report. I have not seen that so I would not care to [comment on it]. That is like commentating on speculation. It really does no one any good.”


On how Mayfield has handled being the leadership aspect of being a team captain this season:

“I think Baker has done a fine job with leadership. Sometimes the captain part of it is a result of the leadership; it is not the leadership that makes you a captain if you know what I am saying. You demonstrate the leadership, you get the captain. Just because you are a captain does not mean you are a leader. I think Baker has shown since he has been here that he is a leader. The definition of a leader is to get people to come with you to do the things to pay the prices necessary to win. I think Baker does a good job of making sure everybody understands he is here for the team.”


On Chubb and Landry being selected to the Pro Bowl:

“It is very well deserving. Jarvis has had an excellent year. His yards per catch is almost 14. That is tremendous, probably the highest of his career. He has done a great job in the run game. He continues to be an asset in the pass game, third down and all areas of the pass game he has done a great job. It was great to see him get recognized. Nick Chubb is one of the hardest workers we have, and his success has shown on the field every week. It feels great for the guys to get recognized for their accomplishments.”


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