HC Freddie Kitchens (12.6.19)

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

Opening statement:

“Good week of preparation. I think our guys are focused, good enthusiasm, good energy. I think we are ready to play.”


On if TE David Njoku will be activated for Sunday:

“We will see how it goes Saturday and Sunday.”


On the determining factor for Njoku to be activated:

“Just discussions.”


On if Njoku is healthy:

“Yeah, he is healthy and ready to go. He is healthy.”


On how C JC Tretter and T Chris Hubbard looked in practice today:

“They moved around and did a few more things. It will be close. We will see how they are Sunday.”


On how solid Tretter has been since joining the Browns, including never missing an offensive snap last year when hurt:

“JC is a tough guy mentally and physically, and he did a good job last year. I think probably half the year he played with that high ankle sprain. I know that if there is any way possible for him to play, he will play, but there is a lot of things that go in that factor into that.”


On Tretter and G Joel Bitonio taking pride in never missing a snap:

“Most of them, the mindset of an offensive lineman should be that I am not going to miss a snap if I can.  I think that carries over, but if you have something as an example to see it, of course, it is beneficial.”


On the backups at C if Tretter does not play:

“We have a plan. We have two or three guys that can snap the ball. We are fine there.”


On why KS are having a harder time kicking towards the Dawg Pound this year:

“Just bad hits on the ball. To simply answer your question, I think is a game-by-game basis from the standpoint of how the wind is moving and how the wind is blowing. It is all things that we try to evaluate before the game starts.”


On if the Browns send the specialists to the stadium during the practice week:

“We do. They kick on both ends down there.”


On QB Baker Mayfield not having a wrap on his hand at practice today and if that is indicative of Mayfield’s hand getting better each day since Wednesday:

“Yeah, that is accurate. He probably did not need the wrap on the first part of the week. It was just preventive more than anything.”


On if Mayfield may be affected at all Sunday by the hand injury:

“No, I think Baker is fine.”


On if Mayfield will wear a glove on Sunday:

“No, I do not think so. I think that glove is more to keep the wrap on than anything.”


On if Mayfield does not need to wrap his hand anymore or wear a glove:

“Yeah, I do not think so.”


On if the Bengals’ record should be better than 1-11, given their talent:

“I only worry about them this week and preparing for them this week. I do not want to like…”


On the Bengals’ strengths do well:
“I think we have to do a good job in our protections. They get after the quarterbacks. Their linebackers are active. Their secondary can play. No. 22 (CB William Jackson III) has made a lot of play (Benagls QB) Andy Dalton has won a lot of games, a lot of big games and played a lot of football in the NFL. (Bengals RB) Joe Mixon is an elite back and dynamic from the standpoint of he can run the ball between the tackles outside and catch the ball out of the backfield. They have two wide receivers that are very, very good – one that they target a lot and one that has great speed and can make plays in the open space. When you start talking about all that, and they have a good tight end. They have the ability to make plays on offense, and they have the ability to put pressure on the quarterback and stop the run on defense. Special teams is one of the best coverage units in the National Football League. With their return guy, he does a very good job of returning balls and being physical at the point of attack. When you start talking about Cincinnati, they have a lot come in here and be confident in.”


On if Dalton fundamentally changed the Bengals offense when returning last week:

“They did some of the same things, but I think they are more likely to take a few more risks with Andy just simply because he is more experienced and knows how to protect the football a little better. He made some plays in that game, and he has made them for a long time. Andy Dalton is a very good player.”


On the vibe and energy of the team today after the loss:

“I think this week was just like all the other weeks. We kind of build starting on Wednesday with knowledge, continue it on Thursday and kind of about the end of the week, you have the knowledge part of it down and it is focusing on the mental aspects from Friday to Sunday and make sure you do not lose any sharpness of that. I thought our energy was good all week in the meeting rooms and on the practice field.”


On if the team talks about potential playoff scenarios and making a run or simply taking it one game at a time:

“We strictly talk about going 1-0 this week. We just want to go 1-0 this week. I know that if we do not do our job this week, none of that conversation exists. They may say what you want to hear, but at the end of the day, we are talking about being 1-0 this week and letting all that stuff take care of itself.”


On if he views this game as a test of team’s character, particularly given the team’s decreased playoff percentages:

“Collectively and individually, it certainly is. Again, we do not care about the percentages. We just want to be 100 percent this week on how we prepare.”


On his sense of the Browns locker room and its character:

“I think our character will be demonstrated on Sunday on how we go out and play. I know we prepared well during the course of the week. Now, we have to take it to Sunday. I have confidence that these guys will do that.”


On if it is more difficult for guys to rebound after a loss like last week:

“Wednesday, I got the same thing I have gotten with these guys continually. We put that behind us. We always try to move forward to the next week and I think these guys have done an excellent job of that. That is the only thing we are concerned about. We are not worried about anything in the past or the future – just this Sunday.”


On adversity on the Browns OL:

“I think every game is a game in itself from the standpoint of they have to prepare, and they have to play. Not everything is on them. The blame can go around when you start talking about protecting the passer, coaches included. I think those guys do face adversity, but they face adversity every week. We have guys behind our starters that we feel confident in and we expect them to go in and play well and not just be there and take up a spot. We expect them to play well.”


On the most surprising or challenging aspect about being a head coach now that he is three-quarters of the way through his first year:

“I do not know. I will reserve the right to answer that.”


On if he would prefer to answer the question at another time:

“Yeah, ask me again. Just you are never off. You are always on. That would be it probably.”


On if ‘always being on’ is different from being an assistant coach:

“Yeah, I think so. I think there is always something to deal with. It can be on the field, off the field. It could be anything. There is always something to deal with. I always heard that but did not understand the magnitude until now or during the course of the year, and not just during the season, in the offseason, as well. It is just in general, you are always dealing with something.”


On if there is mental sharpness that to constantly strive for or a battling of mental fatigue:

“I am sure there is. I do not think that I hit it yet. Some probably would disagree with it. I think you just come to work every day and try to do the best you can, and I think I have done that.”


On if S Damarious Randall checked the boxes on preparation for the week:

“Yeah, Damarious, he was Damarious this week. He came to work every day and what I fully expected him to do and what he expected that out of himself. He did a good job.”


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