HC Freddie Kitchens (8.21.19)

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

Opening statement:

“I just want to start by thanking our fans. This was the last day that they come out. We tried to get as many open practices as we could. The support was tremendous as you guys probably can tell. We never lacked of any fans being out, and I think the last day was just as many as the first. It was really special.”


On QB Baker Mayfield saying he would like to play at least one half at Tampa Bay and if that is the plan for Friday:

“He did? Everyone has an opinion on that now, right (laughter)? You are trying to circumvent the system here, aren’t you? I will let him think that.”


On if he is ready to announce playing time for Friday or if it is a secret:

“It is not a secret. We are going to play our guys some. I do not know how long yet. We have had a good camp. It has been a good, physical camp. These guys have embraced the fact that they feel like they have been doing some things that probably other teams have not been doing. It does not matter until you start playing the games. I recognize that. I recognize the fact that what we do two days before a game in the preseason even and understand how that can affect someone’s body. More so than anything else, that is why I have approached training camp the way that we did. I like to get our work done right now in a controlled environment to see how much better we can get on a day-in and day-out basis. This week is a little different because you are definitely not going to do it next week. We will see. Some of it factors in on how guys are feeling – little nicks and bumps that they may have because they have nicks and bumps. We have had a physical camp. You just have to factor all those things in and then make a determination. I am really not trying to avoid the question. It is just that I do not have all the answers yet because I do not know. A guy can feel totally different on Friday than he did Wednesday.”


On if the Browns will simply sit out all starters or play all starters:

“No, it is going to be a player-by-player basis. A certain player may need something different than another player. We try to make everybody feel special.”


On cultivating relationships as a head coach compared to earlier in his career:

“The quarterbacks will tell you here and the quarterbacks in Arizona that my memory is impeccable (laughter). I try to tell me wife that, too, and she does not really believe me anymore. You are around a group of guys so long, now I just know their name. Their first names, too, not just last. It is a pet peeve of mine to call someone by their last name. You guys remember that, alright? Just kidding. I am not kidding.”


On goals for the game at Tampa Bay:

“I just want to see consistency on how we compete, that is all. Sometimes you can’t dictate the scoreboard, but you can definitely dictate how you compete, how you prepare and how you approach the game. Those are the things I want to judge, not necessarily the scoreboard.”


On unfinished business with the close of training camp:

“We still have some spots that need to be earned and won. If you are trying to win a spot, you have to also say that there are some spots that can be lost. At the end of the day, we have four practices and two games left now. The sense of urgency with everybody surrounding the organization needs to increase. I think it has to a certain extent. It is just continuing to build on what we do and get the legs under our guys. I know at some point in camp, they probably did not think this day was ever going to get here, but I made them a promise that I would have them ready to play from having their legs up under them and I will do that.”


On the biggest accomplishment during training camp:

“I think the beginning stages of becoming a team, being in it together and holding each other accountable maybe a little bit more than we did before, which are all things that are a necessity moving through an NFL season and into a week-by-week basis.”


On the philosophy of wanting players to practice playing banged up since they will ultimately do so in games:

“I think a couple of different guys I have coached for that has been their philosophy. That was (Pro Football Hall of Fame Head) Coach (Bill) Parcels philosophy. That was (Alabama Head) Coach (Nick) Saban’s philosophy, and I did not coach with him in the National Football League but you can probably go down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama right now and see how they are practicing. We are not the only ones in the National Football League doing this. We may be the other ones that you guys know about or advertising it because in some places, this is the norm; this is not the exception. We are trying to make this the norm for us for how we prepare and how we practice on an everyday basis. That is the whole point of all this. We have to raise our norm up a level. It can’t stay where it has been. You continue to do the same thing over and over, you are going to get the same results, and I go off that philosophy.”


On if the Browns have established the culture needed to make it through the season and be successful:

“We will find out. The proof is in the pudding. We will see. I think we have a good start, but I think that is ongoing, continuing and building. Cultures just do not happen. Cultures happen by continuing to stack chips on top of each other and then having success with it. When you have success with it, it is easier to continue to stack those chips. We will see. I do think these guys have bought in to a certain extent, but I think we need to keep coming.”


On Mayfield reaching out to NY Giants QB Daniel Jones to clear the air and if that is not surprising:

“That is what I fully expect him to because he wanted to make sure it was interpreted properly, and I would too if I were him.”


On if he feels how Mayfield’s persona can be distorted publicly by people who don’t understand who he actually is as a person:

“I think definitely. Without a shadow of a doubt. If you have a perception of someone and they say something that can be interpreted a certain way that would benefit your perception of that person, then of course you are going to perceive that that is that. There is not going to be a benefit of the doubt any other way.”


On if the Browns have faced any of the adversity he referenced earlier in the year:

“I think adversity can be on an individual basis so you would have to ask those 90 guys in the locker room to see what adversity they have encountered. Do I think we have faced some adversity? Yeah, I think getting on a plane, going to Indianapolis and staying for two days the first time we traveled as a team and going against a good football team with a lot of fans – a lot of them were ours – I think that was some adversity. Adversity can be either very small or very big depending on what it is and depending on where you are as an individual and collectively as a team at that present time. Yes, I think we have seen some adversity. Being in pads every day is an adversity for a lot of guys. Collectively and individually, depending on how they treated it, it may have been more adversity for them in general, but it is collectively going to be adversity.”


On if the suspension of WR Antonio Callaway is adversity to the team or to the player himself:

“It is to the team. If he is part of the team, then it is adversity to the team.”


On Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians:

“Bruce is a good dude. I just saw him at (former NFL coach and player) Darryl’s (Drake) funeral. I played for Bruce, and I coached for Bruce. He is a good guy. He is a good guy to hang out with, a good guy to work for.”


On if it will be interesting to coach against Arians rather than with him this week:

“Yes, it will be interesting for him, too.”


On expectations for WR Braxton Miller:

“He moved around well. He can stick his feet in the ground and change directions. He caught the ball well. It looks like he has some juice. He has not hit that adversity yet with the pads on, but he looked good out there.”


On Miller could see a role on special teams:

“Oh yeah, all hands on deck.”


On what role and importance former Alabama and NFL coach Sylvester Croom has had with his career:

“I told the guys last night that I have worked for some great coaches in my career. I was very fortunate from that standpoint, but the guy that probably impacted and had the biggest influence on my life in how I approach dealing with guys was Sylvester Croom. He does not get a lot of credit for that because of the situation he went into in Starkville, Mississippi. When you talk about the first African-American football coach in the Southeastern Conference, that is huge. For him to carry that on his shoulders during that time, I was very blessed to be a part of that and to see how he came through the fire per se and still be the man that he is, it is one of the most impressive things I have ever as a person and as an individual.”


On if WR Odell Beckham Jr. missing a lot of team drills during camp qualifies as adversity:

“We still have a couple of weeks left to iron out some little details and stuff, but just because he is not out there during team drills does not mean we are not getting work done. Does it fall under adversity? I would not say so. No. I have not really put it in those terms. Of course, if you are in a perfect world, you would have 90 guys stay healthy all throughout camp. Every time someone goes down, to someone it is adversity. It may just be to the backup so that adversity may be to those younger receivers that are getting these reps and the then reps start piling up on them, which again then you are in the exposure or exposed business to see what you can do.”


On what RB D’Ernest Johnson has done to catch the Browns’ attention:

“The first thing he did was pass protect. He is a great pass protector. He can change direction. He has good body control and good body balance, and he holds onto the football.”


On if he knew Johnson worked on a fishing boat during his year away from football:

“I did not know that. I will have to talk to him about that now. I talk to him a good bit, and I never even though to ask him, ‘Hey did you ever work on a fishing boat? How the hell did you do that?’”


On Johnson being away from football for a year and getting a chance to make the team this year:

“He has a great opportunity in front of him in these next four days and two games. You do not ever know. You do not ever know where they are going to come from. You do not ever know who is going to show up. (WR Damon) Sheehy (-Guiseppi) showed up to a workout that he was not even supposed to be at. He shows up at rookie minicamp and we end up keeping him but he did not know what was going on. He really did not. The strides he has made over the last four or five months has been tremendous. We have several guys like that. Some of them get advertised and some of them do not, but you never know. When we went to the Super Bowl in 2008, at tight end we had one drafted guy, two undrafted free agents and another guy taken in the seventh round so you never know where they are going to come from.”


On what he admires most about run game coordinator/running backs coach Stump Mitchell:
“I would trust Stump with my life. Stump is demanding. He holds those guys accountable. He is a good Xs and Os coach. He understands pass protection. He understands the technique of pass protection, the technique of running routes and the technique of ball security. Stump was a very good player in this league, too. I just like Stump as the person. I like him as a football coach, but I love the guy as a person.”


On if he was behind Mayfield putting pressure on the Ks in practice:

“No, I think that was his thing. I think he is going to be at the game, too, just like me (laughter).”