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Browns OC Freddie Kitchens press conference - 12/6

On how he can help QB Baker Mayfield bounce back from three interceptions last week:

“I think he has done that already. I think the second half was evident of that. Then, he came out this week with good practice and stuff. I do not think that you have to tell Baker to shake off anything. He does a good job of it. I think that is one of the characteristics of a good quarterback is being able to shake off things like that.”

On Mayfield’s interceptions:

“When interceptions happen, sometimes it is bad decisions by the quarterback, sometimes it is pressure happening more than it should, sometimes it is guys not being in the right spot, sometimes it is a bad play call and sometimes it is a combination of everything. I think that is sort of what happened the other day. This did not all fall on Baker. I think we have to do a better job of being where we are supposed to be. I think we have to continue to do a good job of protecting. I think we need to just execute in general from every position.”

On preventing Mayfield’s three interception performance from happening again:

“I think the main thing is that you have reads and where your eyes are supposed to be and things like that. Listen, at the end of the day, that game the other day can go a long way from the standpoint of him learning, learning how people are going to play him and deciding how people are going to play him before we get into other things. I think it was a great learning experience for Baker. He is a rookie. He is playing in the National Football League. I do not know how many starts this is for him, but he is a rookie so he has a learning curve there. I think that was evident last week. I will tell you, I was very, very pleased and happy with the way he came back in the second half because a couple of plays there and we are right back in the game.”

On if the Texans game was a learning experience for him as a play caller, particularly with the number of passing plays called:

“I do not know if they did anything that we were not prepared for from that standpoint. Critiquing myself like I do after every game, I would have ran a couple of more runs early, but there were not too many spots that I would have changed anything, and then we were behind and we were trying to catch up. There were a couple of times there that I would have ran the ball if I had to do it over again in the first half.”

On the difficulty calling plays when falling into a 10-0 deficit early in a game:

“That is the decision that you have to make. You have to decide whether to call another run or try to get a chunk [play]. That is the decision. It should not matter whether you are down 10-0 in the first quarter or the fourth quarter, you should be playing that thing the same way. At the end of the day, it is two possessions. It does not matter if it happens in the first quarter, third quarter, the second quarter or whatever. It is still two possessions and that is the way you have to see it.”

On if playing the Texans defense played relative to their league rankings:

“We talked to the team a little bit about it, they are a team that had won eight games in a row, they have three primetime players and have some other really good players and they are probably the best front seven in football. In saying that and going on the road and playing the guys like that, that was the first taste of it and we have a young football team. That was the first taste that they have had that type of atmosphere on the road. We had a little bit of a taste of it in New Orleans, but I do not think that we are the same team as we were in New Orleans so that was their first taste of this kind of thing together as far as who is playing what position and how we have been playing, as well.”

On WR Antonio Callaway’s ‘up and down games’ and if that is attributable to his age:

“He is a young guy that did not play any football last year. I think Antonio has tremendous upside. He is continuing to work every day on focusing on what he has to do, and I think that he is doing a better job of doing that. You are right. I think that is the sign of a young player. At the end of the day, you look out on the field at any given moment and we have four or five rookies playing on the offensive side of the ball. That is part of growing.”

On challenges for Mayfield facing Panthers LB Luke Kuechly:

“Luke, it seems like I have coached against Luke almost every year. When I was in Arizona, we played him a couple of times, a couple of playoff games and one NFC Championship game. If Baker forgets to make a call, he will be able to make is for him (laughter).”

On if Callaway has improved in competing for contested balls:

“Definitely. I think so. I think that he has made some this week in practice and that is what wide receivers in this league have to be able to do. They have to be able to make the contested catch. It is going to be in traffic. The room for error that you have wide open receivers just does not happen all of the time. You have to make contested catches. You have to come down with them and you have to run after the catch. I think he did all of the above in that one after he had just got done sprinting 78 yards on the one before. I think Antonio is doing a great job of just staying focused. We try to preach that every play is a new play. If something bad happens on a previous play, you play the next play. I think those guys demonstrated that very much in this last game. It goes the same with good plays. We go from a 78-yard touchdown I think it was so it is a good play and then it ends up being a penalty so it is a bad play. Then, we go back to make another good play. That is the perfect example of what we are trying to get done here.”

On the key for Callaway’s next steps in development:

“Just work, make sure that you stay in your book, your gameplan book, you are watching tape, you understand how people are going to play you and then, you just focus and concentrate and do your job. I think he has gotten better at that as the year goes on. He is a young guy. You have to stay on him, make sure that he is doing the right things. (Wide receivers coach) Adam Henry is doing a great job with him. We will see where he is at the end of the year. We try to preach that you keep your head down and work and do not look at the scoreboard. Do not look at the day of the week even. Just keep your head down and work, work, work and then see where you are at in three, four weeks down the road. I think we did a good job of that starting a month ago, and I think we are continuing to do that. One game is not going to define our season. Houston is not going to define our season. We are going to keep our head down this week, not look at the scoreboard, just play every play like it is the next one and see where we are at the end of the game.”

On if Callaway has the potential to be a team’s No. 1 primary WR:

“I do not know. I can’t answer that. I know that he is young right now. I know that he has a great ceiling, a very high ceiling. Some of that depends on Antonio – how good he wants to be and how committed he is to doing that.”

On lifting up the offense after facing adversity:

“I definitely do. We keep talking about lesser defenses, but it seems like that is kind of ebb and flow. You look at this defense this past week in yards per carry, they went down or yards per gain, they went down. At the end of the day, we do not even look at stats. It is whoever lines up across from us is who we are playing. We do not make the schedules and we do not affect the other team’s record until they play us. One way or the other, their record is going to be affected. As far as our guys’ mentality, we try to preach it on a day-in and day-out basis and that does not change. Win or lose, we are going to try to be the same person and approach work, approach practice and approach games the same way.”

On if he helps Mayfield work the locker room and lead:

“I do not know that you develop a leader. I think you are either a leader or you are not. I think Baker is definitely a leader. I think he did a good job on Sunday and realized that you can still help while you are struggling a little bit. At the end of the day, the kid made three bad decisions and everything else was pretty good. I do not know what kind of records he was setting in the second half, but it had to be something. He made three bad decisions in the first half. In this league against good football teams on the road, you make those decisions and you have an uphill battle the whole day.”

On if he has an example of media searching for controversy this year, given his comment last week:

“I do not think so. I think it is always if you put yourself out there to have controversy, I think it happens because I think you guys will find it. I think that is where I would stay on that question.”

On if it is a little bit of what came first the chicken or the egg when it comes to media and reporting on controversy:

“Yeah, I agree.”

On where he expects the offense to be at the end of the next four weeks:

“I can’t tell you that. I would say the best that we can be, and I do not think we have been the best yet. I think if we continue to execute and things like that, we will see where we are.”

On Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera comparing Mayfield to former Bears QB Jim McMahon:

“I do not know. Jim McMahon wore No. 9 and Baker wears No. 6. If you flip it upside down, I guess that. I used to love Jim McMahon and I was eight or nine years old or something like that in 1985 or maybe I was 11. When they won the Super Bowl, I used to be a big Bears fan. Hopefully, we will have some of the results that Jim McMahon had.”

On McMahon and Mayfield both wearing headbands:

“Yeah, yeah. Baker, I think he gets his from Lululemon, though (laughter).”

On TE Orson Charles:

“Orson is great. He is like a fire plug, but I will tell you what, if Orson hits me in the chest again with his hands, we are going to have a big problem (laughter). I do not think Orson realizes how strong he is sometimes and how loud he is. He is really loud, yells a lot and stuff like that. Unique guys like Orson that there is never a dull moment with him around whether it is bad or good, he is getting people up, getting them going and you know he is always going to be up and he is always going to be going 100 miles per hour.”

On Mayfield calling Charles a psycho:

“Yeah, probably would, but I used that a-word last week I heard it from my wife so I won’t be doing that anytime soon.”

On if he still has a relationship with Pro Football Hall of Fame Head Coach Bill Parcells and if he has spoken with him since being promoted:

“Not since I have been in this role, but I do communicate with him from time to time. It is so hard to stay in touch with guys during the course of the football season, but yes, I do talk to him every offseason and probably three of four times a year. I loved my time with him when I was there. I learned so much in such a short time, and it is sort of like one of those things where if you have coached for him or with him 15 years ago and I was not on the same staff with the same guy then I know the lessons that guy learned from him. It is all kind of a brotherhood internal that the lessons you learned from him are the same lessons that he was teaching back when he was winning Super Bowls with the Giants. That is kind of the way it is, and I am very fortunate to have had that time with him before he retired.”

On former NFL Head Coach Bruce Arians saying he would retain his role as offensive coordinator if Arians was named Browns head coach:

“I did not give any thought to it at all. Like I said last week, I do not advertise for jobs and I have never been out of work, and I do not think I will be. I do not give any thought to it at all. I know one time before he said that when he first came to Arizona, he said he was going to call plays until he found someone to do it better than him so I do not know. We would have to see who is calling plays (laughter).”

“BA and I go way back. He coached me at Alabama and all of that kind of stuff. I beat him a couple of times, which he would disagree with on the golf course (laughter). We even had some cocktails together (laughter). BA, I consider him a good friend, a good mentor and I do not know. I don’t get into that kind of stuff. We have a big a game to win to play this week and four more games this year and see where it lays at the end.”

On this month being different and a learning opportunity as it is his first time as offensive coordinator:

“Definitely, I think that in the same breath, I would say I learned when I was coaching quarterbacks I learned things every year, and every day you try to learn something from everybody you come in contact. Sometimes it is more important to learn things not to do than to do. I think that has been some of the case with this little stretch, too. I have been very fortunate to draw experiences from different people that I have worked with and some great coordinators that I have worked with, some great head coaches that I have worked with and part of it is just making sure the guys around you are playing hard. I think that is what ultimately your goal is, and it is up to them to execute, but sometimes it is up to them to put the time in to know what to do. You need to show them how to do it and when to do it, and that is the approach I have taken. Yes, my learning curve has been tremendous over the last month – good and bad.”

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