HC Freddie Kitchens (12.27.19)

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

Opening statement:

“I thought it was a good day to finish up the week with our on-field preparation. I think these guys have been focused all week. I think we are ready to go down and try to execute and play our best ball.”


On if the flu is going around the team, given the number of players who have been limited due to illness this week:

“I do not know if it is the flu or not. I know some of them are getting tested right now to see, but we will see how it goes at the end of the week.”


On if he is concerned there is a potential for the illness to further spread among members of the team:
“I think you are always concerned about that, but some of it we can control and some of it we can’t.”


On if the Bengals are playing better now than the matchup in Week 14:

“I thought they were playing pretty good when we played them, but yeah, I think they continue to get better and better. I think they are playing pretty good. Last week’s game was a pretty good game for them.”


On what the Bengals are doing well now:

“I think they are able to run the ball. They ran the ball well against us last time. They were able to throw and create some shots and explosive plays in the pass game and just overall. They play good defense. Their front is very good, active and been playing for a long time. (Bengals QB) Andy (Dalton) has won a lot of games, and they are very good.”


On if he has a sense for the severity of WR Odell Beckham Jr.’s illness:

“All I know is he was not able to go today so I can only deal with today.”


On if Beckham was in the building today:

“He is in the building now, I think. I am really not sure if he has gotten back from the doctor yet.”


On if it is encouraging that TE Rickey Seals-Jones returned to practice after his illness and that it may simply be a 24-hour illness for Seals-Jones, Beckham and other players:
“Ricky’s went on for a few more days than that, but we will just have to see what we have got at the end. We will be OK.”


On why the Browns have not been successful on the road recently after opening the year with two road wins:

“First of all, it is hard to win on the road in the NFL. We were fortunate enough to win our first two road games, but we have not won a road game since. That is one of our challenges this week is to go to Cincinnati and play better than we have played recently on the road.”


On if the team considered resting a few players who have played with nagging injuries this year for the final game:

“You have 16 games. I do not buy into that. No.”


On the benefits to the organization of finishing the season strong with a victory over the Bengals despite no postseason possibilities:

“I think just continuing to go out and putting our best foot forward from the standpoint of how we execute and you leave individually and collectively with a good feeling about what we can do moving forward. That is really all you can do, and that is what you try to do every week. Nothing has really changed other than the fact that after the game, we will not be in the playoffs. You still want to go out and perform your best. It is only one of 16 games through a calendar year so of course, you want to go out, play your best and leave with a good feeling and a good feeling about yourself individually and collectively.”


On where the Browns have improved most from Week 1 to Week 17:

“I think there are several areas. I think we have continued to run the ball well and gotten better and better at that. Our third downs have gotten better. We have gotten better in the red zone offensively. Defensively, we have continued to fight through some guys that are missing, and they continue to play hard, fight and get better with their run fits and stuff, which is always a problem, especially with the way some people attack you in the run game. There are several areas. Special teams have continued to get better at covering kicks. We are up in the top 10 in the league in kickoff coverage and punt coverage, and our kickers have done a good job. Several areas.”


On what he is looking for from TE David Njoku in order to play on Sunday:

“We are going to play the people I think gives us the best chance to win each week. Depending on what that is, we will see how it goes Sunday.”


On why the Browns pass game has been more erratic despite consistency in the run game:
“You have to be more precise in landmarks, in throws and in everything in the pass game. It takes more to be successful in the pass game. We just have to continue to work and try to do well this week.”


On if DE Olivier Vernon could potentially play at Cincinnati:

“Yeah, there is definitely a chance. He is trying to work through it now, and we will see what we get on Sunday.”


On when he first realized Beckham was being impacted by his hip:

“O has been dealing with that all year, and we are trying to get him through it and stuff. He has done a good job of pushing through it. He likes to go compete, and I think he has done a good job of that.”


On if he first became aware of Beckham’s hip injury during the first week of training camp or earlier in the year:
“I do not really want to get too much into when. It is just something we have tried to continue to monitor during the course of the year and try to get him there on Sundays to compete. He has done a good job of that.”


On if he has spoken to Beckham about his current illness and symptoms:

“It just started today so I have not gotten much info from that standpoint. It started today, and I got a report from the doctor. We will go from there. We will see how it goes.”


On if Beckham may feel illness is not enough to hold him out of game after playing through injuries during the season:

“This might be a little different deal here, but I do not know. We will see. We will see where it is. He could be better this afternoon, he could be better tomorrow or he could be better Sunday so we will see. I can’t really diagnose. That is somebody else’s expertise.”


On if the Browns will have a ‘sick plane’ ready to go for travel to Cincinnati for players who are dealing with illness:

“I do not know about that – maybe a car (laughter). Hopefully, we do not need a plane for it.”


On if players currently dealing with illness will travel to give them every opportunity to be ready to play on Sunday:

“We are going to have enough to line up and play. We have not gotten that far yet. Some of that just happened today so we will see. They may be feeling better tonight. We just have to monitor and see. It is like if anybody has been sick, it is like you can get better at any moment.”


On what WR Jarvis Landry has shown by playing through a back injury and if Beckham and Landry push each other:

“I think just in general, both of those guys want to be out there for their teammates. They have done a good job of pushing through it at times and getting out there and competing. Those are both guys that like to compete so anytime you like to compete, you can overcome a lot.”


On if Landry earning Pro Bowl honors is more impressive considering he played with an injury this season:

“Jarvis is a good football player, and he has demonstrated that this year consistently. Very rewarding, but once you start training camp, you are never going to feel perfect. I know he has dealt with a few other things, but that is part of football and he has been able to get through it, get to the game, compete, perform and execute.”


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