HC Freddie Kitchens (12.2.19)

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

Opening statement:

“Obviously, disappointed in the result and the way we performed yesterday. Like I said last night, we did not play very well together as a team from the standpoint of offense, defense and special teams. You have to give Pittsburgh credit. They did a good job after the first quarter of answering with their intensity, and we did not do a good job of matching that intensity. Started the game off well offensively and defensively and did not maintain it through the second half. Everybody has to do a better job of handling their job. Caches, players, everybody has to do a better job of doing their job when they are supposed to do it, especially in critical moments. I have said for a long time now you have to understand when the game can be won and then take advantage of those situations, and we had several opportunities and did not make those plays.”


On QB Baker Mayfield’s status:

“Baker should be fine this week.”


On the initial sideline report that QB Garrett Gilbert was expected to start the second half and then Mayfield returning:

“We just got the results back from the X-ray and X-rays were negative. We did not have the result at the time. [The interview] was actually coming out of the locker room. We got the x-rays somewhere in between the time that I left the locker room to go to the field and me going to the field.”


On Mayfield wearing a glove on his throwing hand in the second half and if that could impact him moving forward:
“We will see moving forward, but I do not think so. I do not think the glove had any impact on the way he threw the ball.”


On if he expects Mayfield to practice throughout the week:

“Yes, I do. I think Baker does a good job of compartmentalizing through pain and getting to the game healthy. He will get his work done this week. He will be at practice, and he will get his work done with week. He does not like to miss practice.”


On if it is ‘fair to say Pittsburgh wanted it more’ yesterday:
“I do not think that is fair. I think we have to understand the type of environment and the type of team we are playing. The first time we played them, we set the tone from an intensity standpoint and maintained it. I think we did a good job yesterday of setting the tone from an intensity standpoint. We just did not maintain it. I am not sure what happened to us from a mental standpoint, but just little things here and there starting showing up. We did not make plays. It is as simple as that. Not at the end of the game necessarily, but throughout the second half, we had the opportunities to make plays and we did not make the plays. Now, I have to do a better job of putting them in position offensively. We have to do a better job of continuing to keep them in good position on defense. The biggest difference between the first time we played them and the second time we played them is on all of those 50/50 balls, they were about 100 percent. We have to do a better job of playing the ball. Those guys understand that. We are going to continue to work on that moving forward, and then when we were able to keep them down there inside the one, we kept them inside the one. Then offensively when we get the ball back on the 30 at the end of the game, we need to do something to get the ball in the end zone. That is how the game came down. Their average starting field position when we kicked off was almost the 30-yard line, and our average field positon starting drives was the 19. Those are areas that we have been great on this year, and we were not [yesterday]. Like I said, the complementary aspect of this game could not have gone any worse.”


On if WR Jarvis Landry ran the incorrect route on Cleveland’s final offensive play:

“Anytime you have a big play like that in a game, the first thing people want to point to is miscommunication and stuff like that. We are going to continue to work hard on our communication in those critical moments.”


On if the ball was where it should have been on Mayfield’s interception at the end of the game:

“Like I said, we are going to continue to work on our communication.”


On how Mayfield can learn from the loss and the opportunity to tie the game on the final drive:

“I think every situation is different and every result is different from the standpoint of how you got to that result, and he will continue to learn. He has gotten better in lot of areas, and that is one we will continue to work and continue to learn from. The only way you can learn from them is to be in them.”


On if wearing the ‘Pittsburgh Started It’ t-shirt may give the appearance he or someone else knows something about the altercation that the public does not:

“No, that was just… I truly do not understand what you are referring to, but I would just say that I am done talking about the t-shirt. The t-shirt is what it is so I am done talking about it.”


On his comment yesterday that he would wear the t-shirt again and if he would wear a sweatshirt over it instead:

“I had a jacket over it so I should not have extended my arm to take the picture. That is what I should not have done.”


On if he is disappointed the situation involving the shirt was bulletin board material for the Steelers:
“Yes, of course. If that is what they take as motivation, of course, I am disappointed. I know (Steelers Head Coach) Mike (Tomlin) very well. They are motivated by more than just a t-shirt. We had a lot on the line there for that game, and I do not think that t-shirt put them over the top. Now, that is being strictly honest for you.”


On if the Browns should have run the ball more in the second half, particularly given Mayfield’s hand injury:

“First of all, I do not think Baker was affected by the hand injury. You do have a valid point. I think I do a fairly decent job of evaluating myself and being critical of myself in how I call the game. I would say this, the first 12 plays of the second half, we ran the ball seven out of 12 times. The first half, we were 19-17 pass. We were pretty equal then. Then we come out in the second half, and I run it seven out of 12 times and then it goes to a two-score game in between. After those 12 plays, it goes to a two-score game with 13 minutes to go in the game. I do not know how much running you want to do during that time with 13 minutes because your possessions are limited. I do wish I had given and handed the ball off at the 30-yard line after the interception, just being perfectly honest with you. We took a shot to Jarvis down the left side. It was a 50/50 catch, but in hindsight, I should have handed the ball off, see what happens and play third down.”


On if he wishes he would have created more opportunities for WR Odell Beckham Jr. on short to intermediate routes rather than deeper routes:

“There were a couple of opportunities there, but yes, our plan was to hit him down the field more. We could not hold up as much. We did not think we would have all day, but we thought we could pick and choose. You still have to continue to try to throw the ball down the field, even whatever the rush so we had some chips and stuff that we would have been able to get it off. I always want Odell involved more. I always want Jarvis involved more. I want (RB) Nick (Chubb) and (RB) Kareem (Hunt) involved more. Everybody is special in each and every game.”


On Beckham yelling towards the sideline after a 19-yard catch late in the game and if that was due to growing frustration:

“Yeah, I did not see any barking. I do not know what that is. I certainly did not hear anything, but Odell has done a good job of keeping his emotions in check. I want him to play with passion on the field. I want him to get balls, too.”


On the Browns OL’s performance against the Steelers:

“I thought they were good to start the game, and I think we need to continue to match or set the tone with our intensity throughout the whole game. I think we need to be more consistent.”


On if it is difficult to adjust or discard certain plays in the gameplan based on situations of a game:

“No because we had a good amount of plays where the ball was getting out of his hands quickly. On some of those, we were getting hit, which should not happen. To get into a game against those guys where you are down by two scores, it does not serve us well and sometimes you get into situations like that where you can’t help yourself and you kind of keep digging yourself into a hole, but with 13 minutes to go in the game, you have to do something to get something onto the board. We did a good job of cutting it to seven. Then we ended up at the 30 after the pick, took a shot, did not hit it and then ended up pinning them at the one and the ensuing drive happened.”


On S Damarious Randall’s not playing in ‘the biggest game of the year or for the franchise in a decade’ and Randall’s status:
“Well, there is a lot of insinuating there with your response, and his status going forward is he will come back this week and I am assuming we will do everything we need to do to be on the field.”


On not insinuating because Randall did not make the trip to Pittsburgh:

“I would match your critique of that to say that I think (S Sheldrick) Redwine did an excellent job in the middle of the field and so did (S Juston) Burris.”


On reports that Randall did not want to practice and that leading to Randall not making the trip to Pittsburgh:

“With all due respect, I am not going to comment on why. It is just sometimes you have to make decisions with 52 other guys [in mind]. Listen, I do not take those decisions lightly because I know it potentially could affect the team, but sometimes when you make decisions like that, it is for the 52 other guys, as well.”


On the Browns CBs’ performance against the Steelers:

“I think I would like for them to attack the ball a little more and play the football when it is in the air more. I think they would say the same thing, and I think we will continue to work and get better at that this week. I think they did an excellent job of that the first time we played them. We had nine pass breakups in that game in the first one.”


On if Randall missed practice during the week:
“You guys were out there.”


On media not being at practice on Thanksgiving:

“On Thanksgiving? Well, whose fault is that (laughter)? You gave them off (laughter).”


On if Randall practiced every day last week:

“Listen, ask Damarious. What Damarious and I talk about is going to stay between Damarious and I.”


On not asking for details on his conversation with Randall but if Randall missed practice:

“You are trying to get to the reason he was not [at Pittsburgh]. I made a decision. We are living with that decision. I have 52 other guys to think about.”


On if Randall has to earn his trust back:

“Damarious has my trust. It has nothing to do with trust. I trust these guys as long as they show me they can be trustworthy so moving forward, I do not have a problem with Damarious.”


On if he feels like he needs to grind through the rest of the season to make it to next year:

“I think we are continuing to get better. A lot of times it gets lost in the shuffle that we have a good, young core group that have not been in a lot of these situations. I told these guys the other night, this was the first time we had been in a playoff type atmosphere and it was truly a playoff type atmosphere. We started the game great, and we carried it on with the opportunities that we had through the first half. In the second half, they kind of took over the game and we did not match it, and then the opportunities presented themselves for us to take control of the game and we did not do it for whatever reason offensively, defensively or special teams. The next time we are in that situation, I expect us to respond better. I expect to do a better job. I expect my coaches to do a better job. I expect our corners to do a better job, our running backs, our quarterbacks – I expect everyone to get better from experience. Yeah, I think all of these things that come up during the course of a football season make you better moving forward.”


On if he is concerned about his job security:
“No, I am not.”


On a sideline exchange between Landry and quarterbacks coach Ryan Lindley after Mayfield’s interception:

“I think this is an emotional game, and Jarvis is an emotional player. We like to coach with emotion and passion. I do not think that is a big deal. I think that is part of the game. Our guys put a lot into this game so anytime you see it not happening or unfolding the way you want it to unfold, of course, there is going to be passion and stuff that is exuded out. That is understandable. That is what makes Jarvis such a special player.”


On keeping the team engaged after a loss like yesterday, given its impact on the rest of the season:

“Just simply put, the same way we did when we were 2-6. These guys invested a lot into getting back to the point to get us to where this game even meant anything. Moving forward, we are going to do the same thing because I know this, we have a zero percent chance unless we take care of what we can take care of, and that is just to go 1-0 this week. We are about to play a Cincinnati team that is coming off of their first win. Their confidence is going to be at an all-time high. We understand that and respect that, but we also know that is more about us than anything else. We always have to take care of ourselves first. I think our guys will do a good job of coming back, getting focused and just going back to the same way. We need to approach every week the same – to be 1-0.”


On if the Browns were caught between looking to sustain a drive or end the half on the final series of the first half:

“When we fumbled the kickoff return there, we started at the five. We were going to go and try to get a field goal, and then we pop a run. First off, we called the same run and we had a penalty or something. It backs us up. Then we call the same run, and Kareem pops it, so we are out to the 20. The way it was once we picked up the first down, there was no way they could have made us punt if you work the clock correctly, even on fourth down the way we ended the half. Then we pop another run so now we are in full attack mode trying to get it into field goal range, and then when we did not hit the next one, it is kind of a lost cause at that point so we just threw it out of bounds to burn off the rest of the clock on fourth down.”


On if T Greg Robinson is still in concussion protocol:

“He is as we speak.”


On CB Greedy Williams’ status:

“He should be good. He is still being evaluated right now. I do not really have much more to add than after the game.”


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