Transcripts

Browns coach Freddie Kitchens wraps up the 2019 NFL Draft - Press Conference

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

On if the Browns have accomplished their goals during the draft:

“I think so. We still have some other things to do. We will finish this thing up strong and see where we are at in the end.”

On adding toughness to the team when drafting players:

“Generally speaking, we want to add tough football players. We have some tough football players here. In general, it is a tough game played by tough people. That is what you want. You want guys that love the game of football, and I think we have helped ourselves in that area.”

On LB Mack Wilson being frustrated he was not drafted sooner and that adding a chip to his shoulder:

“I would say excellent, and hopefully, that benefits us.”

On Wilson:

“I think he is good in coverage. He plays the run well. He is a good football player, and he loves the game. He loves to compete. Those are all attributes that we like and that we try to look for.”

On if Wilson will play ILB:

“I think this game is getting so much to where those guys are interchangeable. Of course, he will play in the box, but I think he has the ability to go out and play in the overlook over a slot receiver, too, in some circumstances.”

On if the plan was to select defensive players with the first four selections:

“Not necessarily. That is just the way it happened. (General Manager) John (Dorsey) may have had his own plan, but from our philosophy, we try to take the best player that we think is on the board at the time and I think we have stayed pretty true to that.”

On if Wilson mentioned to him about how the 31 other teams will be feeling some type of pain for not selecting him:

“He did not, but sometimes those guys like to talk after they have talked to me (laughter).”

On if his Alabama connections provided extra insight into Wilson:

“(Tennessee Head Coach and former Alabama defensive coordinator) Jeremy Pruitt is one of my good friends and he coached him at Alabama. Of course, it is documented my relationship with (Alabama Head) Coach (Nick) Saban, but I do not think that we got any more information than anybody else did. Every player that is drafted into the National Football League, all of the information is gathered by the 32 teams probably equally. I do not think we made this decision based on any one bit of information that we got. We made the decision based on what was on tape and from talking to the kid and getting to know him a little bit. That is what we made the decision based off of. We try to make decisions based on what is on tape. That is how I learned it. I know that is the way that John likes to approach it. Just tell me what kind of football player he is because all of this is all good, but ultimately, they have to show up on Sunday and play the game. That is what we try to do.”

On OL Drew Forbes and where he will play:

“We do not know yet. We think he has versatility to do all three (positions) – play left tackle, right tackle, left guard, right guard, center. We will see when he gets here and see what best suits him and benefits us.”

On what LB Sione Takitaki brings to the Browns:

“Toughness. Physical. A relentless desire on each play to get to the ball. I think that kind of sums him up. He has great length. Takes on blockers well. Does not miss many tackles.”

On comparing Takitaki and LB Genard Avery:

“I do not like comparing two players ever and I won’t, but I will just tell you that Avery does play with a relentless nature and high motor, and Takitaki does the same thing.”

On selecting K Austin Seibert:

“We rank those guys just like we rank everybody else. He was sitting there on the board and we decided to go get him. There is nothing wrong with always adding competition. I think we did that. Hell, there was what three, four kickers taken before him? A punter-slash-kicker and I think a couple of them in the same round.”

On key components of what the Browns added to the roster:

“I think we added guys that enjoy the game of football, enjoy practicing football, enjoy playing football, enjoy competing on a day-in and day-out basis is where I think we have made the biggest strides.”

On Dorsey not selecting an offensive player before Forbes, given he has an offensive background:

“I am about the Cleveland Browns. John Dorsey is about the Cleveland Browns. All of these coaches that we have on our staff are about the Cleveland Browns. We do not get caught up into that. That is for other people to critique and all of that kind of stuff. We are just going to line up and coach who is out there. John is going to take the best players that he feels and his staff and coaches collectively feel are the best players. We do not care where they are or what side of the ball they are on. It does not matter.”

On being in the draft room for the first time as a head coach and if he has been in a draft room as a coach:

“No, I have not. Usually, the process goes that you get called in there as a position coach to tell you what the possibilities are and then everybody makes the decision and goes from there. I have never seen the whole process. It was very intriguing and exciting. You find yourself hoping teams do not pick players a lot more than you did as a position coach.”

On draft picks having aspirations and mentioning to win a Super Bowl:

“I did not tell them anything about that. It is fine to have that as your dream and that as your goal as long as you do not let that be your master. You have to let the process of getting there be your master. That is where you have to focus that. We will get them right when they get here. We don’t want to talk about it either. We want to do our talking on how we prepare and how we work.”

On if he is surprised RB Duke Johnson Jr. is still on the roster, given reports Johns requested a trade and how to handle the situation when Johnson returns:

“Duke is under contract. I have said this for like a month now, I don’t know where all this trade talk started happening. People just assumed that we are going to trade him because we signed another good football player. Me, personally, I like good football players and I like as many of them as we can get. Then, it is our job to get them the ball and to help to enable them to help us win in whatever role that is. Duke Johnson is on this football team, Duke Johnson will have a vital role in this football team and Duke Johnson will help us win football games. Am I surprised that he’s still here? No, not one bit. I haven’t wavered and never said anything different other than that.”

On how is RB Kareem Hunt doing in the offseason program:

“He is doing great. He is doing everything we are asking him to do. Exceeding expectations from the standpoint of how he is in the building, how he is around the players and how he is on the field. I have never been around him until now, but that’s what I see and that’s what we have gotten. He is doing things in the community, he is continuing to work on an everyday basis and he is not taking any days off from the standpoint of becoming a better person, a better player, and I think everybody is going to see the benefits of that.”

On how to ‘get Johnson on board’ with his role:

“I don’t know the answer to that. I can just tell him what his role his role is and show him when he gets here. All the rest of that is up to him and what he decides to do. My decision is not based on how he feels; my decision is based on what is best for the Cleveland Browns and this organization. At this present time, it is best for Duke Johnson to be a member of the Cleveland Browns and everybody feels that way. Him asking for a trade and stuff like that, it doesn’t matter to me. He is a Cleveland Brown. If he shows up, Duke is the type of guy that is going to show up and he is going to do his job. He is going to do his job well. That is all I can ask for as a coach. His opinions and his demands and stuff like that, I’m not impacted by that one bit.”

On QB Baker Mayfield’s mental status in the offseason program:

“Baker has been good mentally. For a quarterback, the spring time is to continue to develop your craft and continue to see what throws I can make in certain situations before it actually counts. Sometimes you will see quarterbacks making throws that you would never see them make in the fall because this is the time to test yourself. I think he’s doing a good job of that. The further and further along he gets mentally he gets in this game of football, he will start doing that more and more. Baker has been great. He has been good. He is continuing to work. He understands and he wants to put the time in to do the work, and he is continuing to strive him to get better every day.”

On if he was disappointed that WR Odell Beckham wasn’t at minicamp last week:

“No.”

On why wasn’t he disappointed Beckham did not attend:

“Of course, I would rather for him to be here than not here, but I understand why. I talk to Odell every day. He knows what we are doing offensively every day. I don’t know if you guys know who the people that sat out [offseason programs]. The past two defensive players of the year sat out of all training camp. Did you know that? (Bears LB) Khalil Mack, he is a pretty good player. He didn’t have any offseason program in the spring, and (Rams DT) Aaron Donald. They didn’t have any offseason. Now, it benefits and it is better for us to have them here us being a new staff, but if we can’t have him ready to play when he shows up, they need to find a new head coach and they need to find a new position coach. He will be ready to play. Don’t worry about that. I’m sure you are, but don’t worry about it.”

On Beckham building camaraderie with Mayfield and the team:

“I will tell you this about Odell Beckham and Baker Mayfield: I think they have a pretty good relationship and they have formed pretty good camaraderie. They have worked out for two summers in a row in California. I don’t see their camaraderie being a problem. Julio Jones and their quarterback (Falcons QB Matt Ryan) have pretty good camaraderie.”

On Beckham joining new coaches and teammates:

“I understand that. I also understand that you guys are always trying to define and draw lines in the sand between coaches and players and players. That isn’t going to happen anymore. That isn’t going to happen here. There is no problem with Odell not being here – I would rather him be here – he is not here. It is voluntary. That is what the word voluntary means. He can decide to come or he can [decide not to come]. Under no circumstances am I going to say that I am pissed off at Odell for not being here. He will be ready to play, and ultimately, that is the only thing that I want is for him to be ready to play when we start kicking off in September. He will be [ready]. I promise you.”

On if he gives himself the advice to be himself in his new role as he did Mayfield last season:

“Do you think I am not (laughter) I appreciate the question. It is very easy not to be. I think the way I grew up and was raised and what I have been through up until this point in my life won’t allow me to be any other way because I understand what is important. I understand what is important in life. I understand what is important in the game. I understand what is important to players, and I understand what is important to other coaches. I won’t allow myself to be any different because I don’t think it is in me. You can ask my wife, I am going to be myself.”

On biggest takeaways from this year’s draft:

“I really like the fact that I think we have drafted football players from the standpoint of guys that love the game. I like the fact that we have drafted some guys that think they have something to prove because if you ever step on the football field and don’t feel like you have something to prove, you are behind someone else. That is probably the thing I have gotten out of this more than anything.”

On if there are other positions he wished the team addressed in the draft:

“Truly, we did a good job in free agency to enable ourselves to really sit back and see what that best [player] was at the time. I don’t think that ever factored into it.”

On evaluating the roster now and improvements:

“You hit the nail on the head, we are always trying to get better. When the draft is over, we are going to try to get better. It is a never ending process. This time of year, everybody wants to talk about the roster and wants to crown somebody. All of this is good, but this is not going to win us any games. This is not even going to win us a quarter. It is not going to do anything for us but set us up for failure if we don’t have our head on straight and we are ready to play football because the games are going to be won and lost in September. All of this other stuff is fluff. It is just things for people to talk about in April and May. You are going to have a different narrative come September, and that is when we want to control the narrative, not in April or May.”

On if any of his responsibilities as head coach have surprised him:

“Answering (ESPN Cleveland beat writer) Tony (Grossi)’s questions; that is about it (laughter). Of course, I knew [the administrative tasks] were part of the job. I didn’t realize how significant that was from the standpoint of every little detail people want to know what you think about it, which is fine and which is good. I can handle that. I have great people around me that can help me in those situations, and hopefully, 15 years from now, I will have great people around me to help me with those situations. I wouldn’t say it surprised me, but sometimes, the nature of where the things come from surprise me.”

On how often he talks to colleagues across the league about new day-to-day matters:

“Pretty often. I lean on guys that I work with or worked for more than anything. I have a great group of coaches here that you can rely on, too, and asking their opinions. I have a guy who has been a head coach (defensive coordinator Steve Wilks), and I have a guy that interviewed for a head coaching job (offensive coordinator Todd Monken). I have a wealth of experience around me. I have seen it done well in other places, too, and been a part of that. I think it is a good situation.”

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