HC Freddie Kitchens (12.9.19)

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

Opening statement:

“I will start it by addressing (QB) Baker’s (Mayfield) comments last night. I have talked to Baker about it this morning. Just like he stated last night, he understands that we do not want him addressing other player’s injuries in that manner especially. (WR) Odell (Beckham) and our training staff have done a tremendous job of getting Odell to the game each and every week up to this point. For that, they have done a good job. I understand everybody wants to ask a bunch of questions about it, but that is really the only info I have without going into detail what Baker and I discuss. It has been addressed, and he understands how to handle things like that moving forward.”


On if surgery was discussed for Beckham during training camp:

“Our training staff and Odell have done a tremendous job of moving forward and getting him to the game each and every week. That is really the only thing. I do not discuss potentials. I will just leave it at that.”


On if there has been any conversation about shutting down Beckham for the remainder of the season:

“No, there has not.”


On why the Browns have not considered shutting Beckham down for the season and if is Beckham still in good enough shape to help the team:

“I think he is helping the team. Odell is doing a great job of he wants to be out there for his teammates, and I like him to be out there for his teammates. He has been doing a good job of getting prepared during the course of the week to get to the game on Sunday.


“Now, last night was a great solid divisional win for us. It took us to 1-0 last week and we are looking to go 1-0 this week moving forward to Arizona. Offensively, it was not the night we would like to have in the passing game, but we did complete some big third down passes that extended some drives that were very crucial to our success. Defensively, we gave up some yards, but we really did a great job in the red zone and held them 1 of 5, 20 percent in the red zone and made them kick four field goals, which was a huge, huge difference in the game. We scored a defensive touchdown, which was huge. It was good to see the corners get their hands on some balls. Special teams did a great job covering kicks, and the starting field position for them was about the 21-yardline, which was a huge factor in the game.”


On if he worries that Mayfield’s comment about the team’s medical staff could create distrust among players:

“No, I am not worried. Our training staff does a fine job. No, I am not worried about that at all.”


On if he addressed Mayfield’s comments with the team in a similar way that he addressed Mayfield:

“What I talk about with the team is just me and the team.”


On if Mayfield privately met with anyone in the medical staff following his public apology:

“All of that will remain between us, but I know that Baker just like he stated last night understands the severity of it and he understands what he did wrong.”


On if it is disappointing to come off another home win and have additional drama surrounding the team:

“As a head coach in the National Football League, you are always having to deal with stuff. We like to keep the focus on ourselves internally, and really maybe the distractions that someone may seem like is happening outside the building is really not a distraction inside the building.”


On if he can quantify how much the injury has affected Beckham on gameday:



On if Beckham looks slower and not able to jump as high as he normally would:

“Odell is a good football player and he has been giving us some good plays. Him and (WR) Jarvis (Landry) are combined for sixth most catches in the league from a duo, and then you add a 1,000-yard rusher to that [in RB Nick Chubb] and there is no other offense that has done that. I think maybe the expectation level for Odell is an expectation level of Odell without anybody else. We have other guys, too.”


On Beckham’s specific injury and clarifying if it is a sports hernia:

“I really do not want to comment on the specifics of anything like that.”


On if there is a concern that the team and front office needs to clean some things up with Beckham behind the scenes, given external reports about Beckham and a potentially fractured relationship:

“I think you are insinuating that things are fractured. I do not see that they are fractured. I see him out there…”


On multiple stories reporting Beckham wants out of Cleveland:

“Did Odell say that? [Media member responds with no]. OK, case closed then. Odell did not say it. Odell has not told me anything remotely dealing with that. I know he has done a great job of getting to the game on Sunday.”


On it being possible for team athletic trainers to potentially recommended that Beckham get surgery prior to the season and Beckham potentially saying he would play through it:

“I am not going to comment on anything like that. Sorry. I really said all I am going to say about the injury or whatever.”


On why the Browns’ running game success changed in the second half:

“I think we made some adjustments in what we were doing. We came out and made a conservative effort to the run the ball. When you have two turnovers in back-to-back series, it is hard to sustain anything. At that point after the second turnover, we only had I think eight or nine plays left in the half. We only ran 21 or 22 plays in the first half. We only had eight series. We scored on four of our eight possessions. When you only have eight possessions, you need to be successful on all eight of those. We moved the ball out and we turned the ball over twice in those eight possessions. Really without the turnovers, we scored on four of six possessions. Now, you have to count the turnovers because that stopped a drive that we were moving the ball down the field pretty good. On the other turnover, we had a couple of guys open. Anytime you score four out of eight possessions, it is pretty good.”


On the reason the Browns turned it over was due to passing the ball:

“Yeah, everybody would say that after you turn it over, right? We threw an interception in New England from flipping the ball from like two feet. I consider that a run, but we do not get credit for a fumble; we get credit for an interception.”


On if DE Olivier Vernon had a setback with his knee:

“Olivier really wanted to get back for Pittsburgh, and we thought it was best just to give him another week. He wanted to go again. We felt like it was best just to give him a little more time.”


On if Vernon will play this week:

“We will see how it goes during the course of the week.”


On T Kendall Lamm’s performance:

“He did very well. Offensive line wise, I thought we had our best game yet yesterday. We gave up one sack. We were on those guys in the run game as far as maintaining blocks and things like that down the field. We did an excellent job on a critical screen pass that we had late in the game on third-and-10. Did an excellent job downfield. Just overall, I think those guys played one of their best games across the board. I thought (T) Greg Robinson played good. (G) Joel Bitonio played good. (C) JC Tretter played good. (G) Wyatt (Teller) came on and made some advancements in the way he played, and then the right tackle played good – Kendall.”


On if the Browns may keep Lamm at RT if T Chris Hubbard is healthy this week:

“We have not broached that yet. We have not got to that point yet.”


On S Sheldrick Redwine’s recent performance:

“I think the last couple of weeks, Sheldrick has done the things that have earned him the right to play more and that continued yesterday. I think he was a factor in the game positively. His range is very evident when he is in the middle of the field. His range, he made a great play on the double-pass, the trick play that they had. I think he got there quicker than the guy even expected and kind of stopped him in his tracks, and as much of a catch and tackle you could have on a play like that, he made it happen, which was a huge play in the game. I think Sheldrick has done a good job. I need him to keep coming.”


On if he would have liked to see Redwine make the interception inside the 5 to stop a field goal:

“Of course. Of course because he had a great opportunity to and he expects to make that play, too.”


On if Redwine can play the other S position:

“I think we have a pretty good rotation there with him, (S) Juston (Burris), (S) Damarious (Randall) and (S) J.T. Hassell comes in from time to time too. I think we have a pretty good rotation. As long as you continue to play well, your snaps continue to increase.”


On if RB Nick Chubb winning the rushing title is significant to him:

“Anytime you see a guy like… First off, I will answer that question by saying hat is the last thing on Nick Chubb’s mind. He wants to win this week. He wants to go 1-0 this week. Anytime a guy as special as Nick is as a person and a player receives any type of recognition, it is deserved. I do not think his end goal is not to win any kind of title, expect the last title.”


On what it would mean to him for the Browns to have two dynamic receivers, a good QB and an NFL rushing champion:

“I think wins and losses mean more to me than anything. I think we need to continue to try to go 1-0 this week. I truly do not think about those kind of things.”


On if Mayfield’s progression is trending in the right direction, despite his stats totals this year:

“Stats are never the end all for any type of evaluation. There have been a lot of passes tipped. There have been some that the receivers have over-compensated for and made plays on the ball. You can never just go strictly off stats. At the end of the day yesterday, we started fast and a pick, fumble or whatever they classified that as at the end down there with (TE) Davis (Njoku). I know we need to come up off the ground with that ball either way. The other ball was tipped. I think there are some throws that he would like to have back, and I would like to have back. I also know that in critical moments of the game he made some advancements. We converted that last drive. Now, we started at the 2 and the next time they got the ball was with one minute to go in the game after we had kicked a field goal to increase the lead to 11. That was a huge drive, and in the mist of that drive, we converted three third downs. That is huge. I think he made some critical throws in that area, too.”


On if Mayfield has made significant growth this season:

“Being a quarterback in the NFL, it is just like you are always evolving. I think he has made growth in the position, in handling things around him and handling things internally from the standpoint of what sets yourself up to get to the next level of advancement, and I think he is forming a tremendous foundation right now.”


On Beckham’s and Mayfield’s relationship:

“I think Odell and Baker’s relationship is fine. I think it is good.”


On if Mayfield’s hand impacted his throwing at all yesterday, specifically a few high throws:



On if would he agree that Mayfield’s passes being high a lot this season:

“I would say that he continues to work every week to get better in all areas.”


On if he has ever sensed that Beckham is unhappy or is trying to find his place within the organization:

“I have not.”


On how RB Kareem Hunt helped shape and change yesterday’s game:

“We have two fine running backs back there and one that can create plays in space. I am glad we have both of those guys back there. Kareem, as we move forward, his role will continue to increase. I hope that answers your question. I do not really know what the questions was. I just know I like the two guys we have when the quarterback turns around and looks back there.”


On challenges Hunt’s ability in the passing game can present to an opposing defense:
“When you can run the ball to either side, there really is no strength to the formations from a run game standpoint, and then you can release both guys out of the backfield and both of them have good hands and are able to make plays with the ball after the ball is in their hands. Not to mention the fact that I would mention that goes unnoticed is the both of them are excellent pass protectors so now if you need to throw the ball down the field a little bit, you can do it because they can hold up in pass protection.”


On if he has called a play with both Hunt and RB Nick Chubb in the backfield and Mayfield under center:
“They have actually. They lined up in the I [formation] yesterday – third-and-2.”


On that potentially being the first times the Browns have run a play with that formation and not in shotgun or pistol formation:
“Or you were going to the bathroom for some reason (laughter). They were in the I, we handed it off to Nick Chubb.”


On Mayfield primarily playing in the pistol or shotgun formation when Hunt and Chubb are in the backfield together:
“Yeah, for the most part. Just to allow you to do more protections out of it. They have to think about different things. Very disappointed you missed the one in the I.”


On if opposing defenses have difficulty defending plays with Chubb and Hunt due to the lack of experience with strong two-RB sets in the NFL:
“You just have to make a calculated guess on how they would play it. I do not really concern myself with it. We see how they are playing, and we adjust accordingly. I think it gives us a lot of versatility.”


On if the Browns caught people by surprise when Hunt was first introduced into the offense:
“No, I do not think so. You have one of two choices. You can substitute him in or you can get two of your best players on the field at the same time. We choose to do [the latter] more so than anything else.”


On his relationship and the coaching staff’s with Beckham, given a recent report that says Beckham’s relationship with Browns coaches is a point of contention:
“Until I hear something from Odell, I am not going to comment. Odell and my relationship is fine. Odell and (wide receivers coach) Adam’s (Henry) relationship is fine. I am sorry I do not think there is like any ‘gotcha’ moment here. I can only tell you what I think and what I have seen from Odell, and what I have seen from Odell is nothing like the reports indicate. So, sorry.”


On why headlines and ‘a cloud’ follows Beckham wherever he goes:

“Listen, I am being serious with you, I think our guys have done a tremendous job this year of blocking out the ‘almost’ or the ‘what ifs’ or the ‘I heard’ sor whatever. They come to work every day, and everything here stays in here and they try to block out the outside noise. I think they have done a great job of that.”


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