HC Freddie Kitchens (8.18.19)

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

On if he is concerned with the current situation at K, particularly given how the position played out last season:

“I am not trying to avoid the question in relation to last season, but I am really not concerned with last season. All I am trying to do is focus on what I am seeing before me, and we need somebody who can put the ball between the two yellow poles. Those guys are continuing to work, but at the end of the day for whatever reason… Now, a lot goes into that. We put together two good drives before halftime the last two weeks. One we had a penalty on the play before the end of the half the first week and were not even able to attempt a field goal. This week, we executed well until we got down there and had a penalty that put us from what I guess would have been a 40-yarder to a 53-yarder. To me, those critical errors are just as important as the missed field goals themselves because we have to do what we can do to get these guys in a better position to make them. Are they expected to make a 53-yard field goal? Yes, they are. Am I concerned about it? No because we are not playing for real yet, but I will be. I want everyone to succeed and get better. That is what I am looking for out of all positions.”


On if the Browns have discussed bringing in another K to compete:

“We have ongoing discussion about everything. I would not just limit it to that, but that is the stuff that (General Manager) John (Dorsey) and I talk about. We are always trying to evaluate our team and get better in any area that we can.


On if missed tackles in games bother him more following the physicality of Browns practices during training camp:

“It bothers me anytime a football player misses tackles because this game is always going to be – I do not care how other people do it – for us, it is always going to be about blocking and tackling. If you do not do one of those two, your success rate goes down tremendously.”


On if he is concerned about the depth at RB with RB Dontrell Hilliard injured and if the Browns need to add another player for the preseason:

“No, I think we are good. Again, that is just like every position. We are always on the lookout for guys. Open communication between John, his staff and me, and we are always looking. We do not feel a sense of urgency right now to do anything.”


On if the Browns starters and other players will have had enough work during the preseason, even if they do not play much at Tampa Bay:

“What we try to do is evaluate each week on a week-to-week basis. Do I think we are finished preparing and getting our team ready? No, I do not think so. To me, this is the third preseason game so we still have some work to do before we can make any assumptions like that.”


On playing time in the third preseason game and the philosophy of it being the ‘dress rehearsal’:

“I look at it as part of the process of getting ready for the season. I am not sold on the ‘dress rehearsal’ thing. I just look at it as another opportunity to go out, try to get better and compete.”


On why RB Kareem Hunt did not play more yesterday:

“He is coming off of an injury. I think he played 14 snaps – I don’t have the [snap count] sheet with me right now. I wanted to keep him between 10-15 plays, and he was right at that just because he is coming off of an injury really. Keep in mind, the first time he had actually been back and up against competition was Wednesday down in Indianapolis. Just because he is not going to be with us first [to start the season], I don’t want him leaving banged up in any way, anything like that or anything that he can’t come back from. You increase your chances of that, and I wanted to make sure he is prepared physically for competition. You kind of just slowly get people involved in that because he had missed some time.”


On if there was a miscommunication between Hunt and T Greg Robinson on a sack:

“Greg wasn’t expecting the guy to get chipped, and he actually had a pretty good set on the guy. We just have to do a better job of communicating. That is all. You are exactly right. It was a communication problem.”


On if the Browns will continue to rotate players at RG, given the team is running out of time to name a starter:

“We are going to continue to look at people. I have a sense of urgency at every position that we have going on. I have a sense of urgency everywhere, but I don’t know that we are running out of time per se. I don’t know who sets the rules as far as to [when you have to name a starter]. I thought we only needed a starter by the time we get to September 8. That is the way I am approaching it. You probably would like to have one in place that Monday or Tuesday before. You may see something you haven’t seen in a guy up until then. I think a couple of the guys we have been playing there are just now getting kind of comfortable. We will see. We still have two games left and in theory six practices before we start preparation [for Week 1].”


On T Drew Forbes’ performance yesterday on both sides of the Browns OL:

“He is getting better. He is continuing to get better. He is continuing to get comfortable as far as knowing what to do and how to do it. He is in the mix, and we will see where it goes. He is getting better. You see Drew getting better even within [practices]. I don’t know if you guys noticed or not, I felt like even during the course of Wednesday’s practice against them you saw him getting better. The same thing for Thursday, during the course of practice, he got better. I think he got better as game went on. He was better in the game this week than he was last week in the game. He just needs to keep that upward trend. One thing I like to tell young guys is don’t make the same mistake twice. I don’t mind you making mistakes. Just don’t make it again. If we can continue to build our repertoire of that, then we will be OK, and that is at all positions.”


On if there was a theme to the penalties committed yesterday and if there are opportunities for improvement:

“Yeah, I think so. A lot of it has to do with just making good decisions or a smart football decision. A lot of them has to do with that. If it does not have something to do with that, then it has to do with technique. Yes, it is something we can clean up. It is something that is going to get cleaned up. It is not acceptable. There is no legitimate reason for that to happen. I do not care. I know what you guys are trying to say and all that. I do not buy into the ‘bad call’ mix. I buy into it was called, and we can’t get it called in that situation. Do I think things happen sometimes? Yes, I do. They happen once a game or twice a game. It does not happen 13 times a game. That is what I am more concerned with is getting our guys better at technique and their decision making ability.”


On P Jamie Gillian’s 74-yard punt:

“I think it was good, but I think it needs a little better hang time. First of all, it is incredible, OK? Secondly, I would say if they had a guy who could catch the punt back there, you have 30 yards to run before you ever get anybody to the guy. When you start talking about the kicking game, you have to evaluate all aspects of it. What I mean by that is – I am probably giving you all a little bit more than what you want – if you kick a ball 75 yards and a guy catches it, he runs 30 yards before anybody gets there and he falls forward for another five, then you are at 40-yard net. If you kick the ball with great hang time at 45 yards, and they have to fair catch it, then that is a 45-yard yet. We are better off as a team if you do the second rather than the first. That is kind of the way that I view that. It was a great kick. I would love it if we were in competition to see how far we can kick the ball. Ultimately, it goes off how it affects the team, and how it affects the team is we have to be able to cover these things. We have to be able to put them where we want to, direction and stuff like that. He is getting better. It is all a new process for him, too. Everybody just needs to come on and feel a little more of a sense of urgency.”


On if the holds by Gillian and P Britton Colquitt have been solid or if that has contributed to missed FGs:

“I do not know. I do not know about that. I know this, it did not go through the upright. I know there are no excuses coming from that room. There will never be any excuses coming from that room. Their job is to put the ball through the upright. I do not care who is holding. I can go out there and hold it for them, and it better go through the upright. That is their job.”


On if G Austin Corbett is out of the mix for the RG competition, given Corbett has not played there much recently:

“No, he is not. We have to have somebody that snaps the ball and not leave (C) JC Tretter on the field the whole game. Right now, Austin is working at center. We are working a couple of other guys at center that just are not getting the amount of reps. When you do cut your roster down, you need a certain amount of guys that can snap the ball, a certain amount of guys that can play guard and a certain amount of guys that can play tackle. If you ever have somebody that can play all three, you are kind of ahead of the game. I am not trying to avoid your question. There are just a lot of things that go into it as far as when you start putting together a roster when you are only going to have nine guys that you are going to be able to have backups for each position – 9-10 guys. It could even be 10 guys. Still, you have to have somebody that can back up your center, and then if he goes into the game, you need a third guy that can snap. You need to have backups for the other four spots.”


On how often during his coaching career have players made the roster based off the last few preseason games or if it is ever ‘that simple’:

“No, I do not know if I can classify it as simple, but our roster is not set right now. I know that there is still a lot of competition going on. Maybe this answer your question for you: something that I have always believed in that I learned from somebody that I coached for, ‘If they make your 53-man team, they are going to have to play. Eventually, they are going to play. It may not be Week 1, it may not be Week 8, but they will eventually play. If they are not good enough play and they have to play, they are going to get you beat. I do not care what position it is, they are going to get you beat.’ We are looking for guys that are good enough to win, and there is still competition going on at those spots.”


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