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Press Conference

Browns player press conferences - Bitonio, Johnson, Kirksey, Zeitler

OL Joel Bitonio:

On if he expected or was 'blindsided' by the coaching staff changes:

"Blindsided, I would say. It is unfortunate any time someone that you have been working with for the last few years gets fired or gets let go. As an organization, it is a tough decision. As players now, we have to move on get ready to play this week. You never expect something like that to happen. It just kind of happens. Now, we have to regroup. It is adversity. How do we respond to it? Do we improve? How do we attack this week of practice? So far, all signs have been good. We just have to keep growing and try to finish out the year strong."

On if there was a sense of 'internal discord':

"As a player, we did not really get a sense of it. At least for me, there was never any fighting on the field or anything like that. It was just business as usual. (Former offensive coordinator) Todd (Haley) would run the offensive meetings. (Former Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson would sit in on them, but he was never really a voice in them. He ran his team meetings and had his input on the field if something looked off, but there was never any discord that we noticed as players."

On if 'internal discord' impacted the Browns' ability to win:

"No, I thought during games that Todd made the play calls and Coach Jackson handled the head coaching duties."

On differences between Head Coach Gregg Williams and Jackson:

"I have been with Gregg for about four hours as my head coach now so it is a little bit hard to compare them(laughter). He is a defensive coach, obviously. He has been around this league for a long time. He is going to do his intensity. He is pretty intense. We will see how it goes today. I can give you a better answer once we kind of go through a week or so of this."

On how this situation is different than past circumstances:

"I do not think that we are giving up. I think this is a step to improve the team. We made a decision early in the season, but we have half of the season left. We are a few plays here or there from being 5-2-1, 4-3-1. We are not far away. I do not think that this is a step where it is, 'Oh, they are tearing everything down.' I think we are just moving in a different direction. I think we have eight games to prove that hey, this team can go out there and compete and fight and go and try to find some wins out there."

RB Duke Johnson Jr.:

On his reaction to the coaching changes:

"I do not have a reaction."

On if he was surprised by the coaching change:

"Yeah, again, I am a player. I come here to play regardless of the coach and regardless of anything. I am a player."

On if he sensed 'internal discord' between coaches:

"No. Other than people talking about it outside the building, I did not see anything. I come in, do my job and go home."

On how the Browns can get back on track to winning:

"Do our job – trust who we have in place now, trust what they are telling us and move forward."

On if 'internal discord' between coaches affected the team's play on the field or served as a distraction during games:

"I can't really speak on if it really distracted us. I know we did not play well. I would not blame it on anything other than our performance and the way we went out and performed."

LB Christian Kirksey:

On Gregg Williams as head coach:

"Gregg is going to be Gregg. He is going to coach the team as best as possible. It is something new for him in Cleveland. He has just been a DC here. He is a guy that can adjust. He is our leader on the defense. I am sure that he will do a good job as a head coach, too."

On how surprised he was learning about the coaching changes:

"I was surprised. This is my third head coach in five years. I am used to it, being able to adjust and stuff. I believe the process. I believe everything that is going on in the building will be for good. Hue was a friend of mine. I have nothing but respect for Hue. Just knowing him, he will be alright."

On if he sensed there were issues with the coaching staff behind the scenes:

"I only focus on what I can focus on, and that is trying to be the best player that I can be. All of the other stuff, I really do not pay attention to. It is not my job to be in that discussion or whatever was going on. I am just trying to win games."

On challenges having three coaches in five years:

"We are just trying to find a way. Whoever is in this building, we have to follow their orders. That is what I do as a player. Whoever is coaching me, I am going to give them 100 percent, give them my all and just be the best player that I can be. Everything else will work out for itself."

On if Williams' passion can impact the entire team:

"I think so. What he does with the defensive side of ball, I think it can kind of bleed over to the offensive side of the ball – how we go about the game and how we compete. I think the offense will enjoy having him and come and chime in on a meeting and drop a couple of 'F' bombs (laughter). I think it will be cool for them."

On if the defense will be impacted by Williams gaining more responsibility:

"He is still going to be doing his job on the defensive side of the ball and doing the same thing on the offensive side of the ball. His role is just expanded, but I do not think it is going to take anything away from the defense."

On attempting to contain the Chiefs offense:

"Game plan correctly. This defense, we will be prepared to see them on Sunday. Just take away some of their key players and just make sure that we give different looks for (Chiefs QB) Patrick (Mahomes) and see if we can allow him to throw uncomfortable balls."

OL Kevin Zeitler:

On how offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens will be as a play caller:

"I expect Freddie to be great. I know he is who he is. That is what he has always said about himself. He is going to do what he likes. I think he is going to be a good at what he does."

On experiencing his first head coaching change in the NFL:

"New experience. It is the first time it has ever happened to me. Just a challenge and we have to work through it."

On if the OL knew former offensive coordinator Todd Haley well and the OL's familiarity with Kitchens:

"I just think being on this team the last couple of months and through training camp, you run into every coach. Everyone is talking with everyone. You meet with everyone. I think you get a feel for who everyone is throughout the year."

On Kitchens:

"I think he is going to be good at what he does. I think he has worked with (former offensive coordinator) Todd (Haley) before so he knows the offense that we have installed. I think he is going to be great."

On improving protection for QB Baker Mayfield from getting hit:

"Just a pride thing. We have to step it up all around. No matter what we do well, we have to keep doing that better, too, and hopefully, everything works itself out."

On the Steelers creating free rushers and if they showed anything the Browns had not seen in previous games:

"I just think that is a veteran group that has been together for years. They know how to play off of each other, and they know how to make things happen. All of the credit to them because they did it. That is up to us that we have to keep building and keep getting better."

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