HC Freddie Kitchens (8.29.19)

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

Opening statement:

“Before we get started, I want to just say how much I appreciate these 91 guys that we had. It was really a tough camp for these guys. They fought until the very end on the very last drive. They were still fighting a bunch of them. This is the toughest part of the year from the standpoint of our business. There are a lot of decisions tomorrow that are going to be emotional for them and emotional for us. We have asked them to do things over the past four or five months, and they have never batted an eye. I commend them for that.”


On what the Browns learned about players in the fourth preseason game:

“That they would keep competing, and they would fight until the very end. Everything did not go really well at all times, but the difference between this week and last week, I thought they made improvements from the standpoint of that they just continued to play the next play. That is what they did.”


On if the Browns have decided on the team’s K:

“We are not talking about decisions tonight with anything.”


On if the Browns are pleased with how K Austin Seibert has performed the past two weeks:

“He is supposed to perform.”


On the Browns defense having a good camp and preseason:

“Yeah, that is what is expected out of them every time they go out there. They set the bar high last week. That was the first time that really we had our starting defense out there. They set the bar high, and that is the expectations that we are looking for so they have to perform.”


On the Browns choosing Seibert to kick tonight after the presumption that K Greg Joseph would have a full game:

“I never said that. Did I say that? I am sorry then.”


On if there was a plan at one point to go with K Greg Joseph tonight:

“We had talked about it, but it was not set in stone. Nothing was set in stone. We kick during the course of the week also so nothing was set in stone.”


On if the Browns wanted to see if Seibert could follow up with another good week following a strong performance in Tampa Bay:

“Yeah, I guess, he went 4-4 so he got another chance.”


On defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and his contributions to the team:

“Steve is a good coach. He was a good coach when he was in Carolina. He was a good coach when he was in Arizona. He just did not always have the tools. There is a lot of stuff that goes into that bad year/good year stuff. I just know when I talk to Steve, our vision for where we wanted to be defensively was similar. Just going against him in one NFC Championship game and a couple of games in the regular season, I knew what kind of defense and the problems he caused.”


On an update on G Drew Forbes’ status:

“Not anything definitive.”


On P Jamie Gillan’s performance tonight:

“I thought it was up and down. I did not see his stats yet so some of those you get fooled by. I did not see hang times or anything like that that I think you need to evaluate kickers with, especially punters.”


On Gillan as a holder:

“The holders like to get blamed sometimes whenever we miss field goals so at least he is not going to get blamed this time.”


On if he received clarity on the Browns WRs:

“I thought it was very impressive that (WR) Ishmael Hyman dropped a couple balls early and one of them for a big play – we continue to talk about just playing the next play – and he came back and had a pretty good game. Without looking at it, I would say that. I like guys that face adversity and come through it, and he did that. I thought (WR) Damion Ratley moved around well so we will see.”


On G Wyatt Teller, who the Browns acquired by a trade earlier today:

“Just to get him here, get him a physical in the morning and meet with him tomorrow afternoon. That is all I know right now. I know I like what I have seen on tape, but other than that, I talked to him on the phone. He is excited to come. It is only a three-hour drive he said (laughter).”


On if Teller is a candidate for starting RG:

“Let’s let him get here first and we will see. Everybody is a candidate. Like I said with the kicker, hell, I can’t tell you what we are going to do right after the first game so I just say something. You all want all these answers that I can give you so I would rather just give you an answer and let you run with it. I like to kind of see you all run with it (laughter).”


On where the team stands following the preseason:
“I like our team. This is never easy. We are going to have [to release] some good football players, some good guys and good people. When somebody busts their ass for you and they do everything you want them to do, it is hard to make those business decisions to let people go. There are going to be some of those decisions made tomorrow, and it is going to be very difficult. I respect the hell out of the locker room that we had. They came together. We are truly not the Cleveland Browns until tomorrow, and even after tomorrow, Saturday or Sunday, we are still always looking to improve. Nothing is ever final in this business. The guys who are not going to be here anymore, I hold the upmost respect for those guys.”


On if the Browns answered the desired questions during training camp and the preseason:

“I think we built toughness. We wanted to get that accomplished. We proved to ourselves that we could be tough. That is more so the case than anything. I think we were resilient from the standpoint of we did not let one day affect the next day. We had a couple of days there where you are coming off breaks like an off day and came out and had good days. That is a good sign that somebody can refocus and have a good day. Now, we had a couple of them that were not. We did show that we had it in us. We showed that we were in it together at times so we just need to continue to build on those things because those things are ultimately what is going to affect our season. It is not the outside, it is not you guys saying this and that or the national guys saying this or that. It is not anything like that that is going to affect our season. That only affects you if you let it affect you. I think we have some guys that will block out that noise. If they do that, we will be successful. It is never going to be about talent. These guys have been talented in other places and I think they recognize that and they recognize there has to be more to a football team, a successful football team than just talent. If they do that and keep that mantra going, play for each other and hold each other accountable, we will be fine. I think we found out we could potentially be that. If we do, we will be fine.”


On if anything surprised him during his first training camp and preseason as a head coach:

“No, I do not think so. How late you eat lunch. Sometimes you do not each lunch until 2. I am not being facetious. Sometimes you eat lunch at 2 and then you are expected to eat dinner at 5:30. That is kind of weird to me. Other than some timing and logistics things, no, not much [surprised me]. I was very pleased with how we went to Indianapolis, how we performed, how we stayed focused and how we hung out with each other after practice. I thought that was a big building time for us as a team within the groups and also collectively as a team.”


On WR Braxton Miller’s performance tonight:

“I thought he did well. He had a couple balls that got called back from penalties. He took one screen and made something out of it. It did not look like there was much there. He used his hands well. I thought he did well.”


On the Browns RBs heading into the regular season:
“I am comfortable with our backfield. We have been comfortable with our backfield for a while. We think (RBs) D’Ernest (Johnson) can play, we think Dontrell (Hilliard) can play, we think Trayone (Gray) gives us some things and we think ‘Uno’ (Ouellette) gives us some things. Did you see the run he made today with the safety in the hole? That was one hell of a run. It ended up being a 6 or 7-yard gain.”


On DT Devaroe Lawrence’s game tonight and preseason:

“Well, he wasted no time tonight, right? That was him in the backfield so I think he wanted to show everybody that that was not a fluke. I think he certainly did that. I was very impressed with Devaroe. Devaroe carried the practices over to the games. He was the same way in practices. I am always happy when guys do that. What you see in practice is what you see in the game. I just want to know what we are going to get when they cross the white lines, and I know what I am getting from him.”


# # #