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Freddie Kitchens emphasizes 'continual climb' toward ultimate goal

The Browns are 1-2. No, the sky is not falling. 

Are the Browns panicking after losing two of their first three games of 2019? No, they are not.

"I knew there were going to be growing pains," head coach Freddie Kitchens said Monday. "We have a lot of guys here that were not here last year so there are going to be growing pains. The only thing we have done is we continue to get better. I want to see that continue to happen, and we will be fine. 

"Nobody is panicking. We are not panicking, but we also understand the shortcomings we have had. I understand the shortcomings that I have had. I am going to get it better. Our team is going to get better."

For the second straight time in less than 24 hours, Kitchens was peppered with questions about his playcalling decisions late in Cleveland's 20-13 loss to Los Angeles on Sunday night. He provided a uniform answer in a sign that the Browns are ready to move forward: "It just should have been a better play call."

Moving forward is the best route after a one-score loss that is painful, but provided positives to ride into the weeks ahead. The defense's performance was admirable, especially considering the injuries that affected the unit. The team fought for all 60 minutes; it just came up short.

It's a valuable lesson for everyone involved, including Kitchens, who emphasized that this is not the last game of the season. In fact, there's still more than three-fourths of the campaign left to be played, and the next time Kitchens finds his offense inside an opponent's 5 with the game on the line, he'll be better equipped to make the right decision.

That is what's most important, and was the prevailing message Monday.

"The thing I want to stress to everyone is we are building this thing," Kitchens said. "As the season goes on, we want to be playing our best ball the further we get into the season. We wanted to play better this week than we did last week, and we did that. We want to play better next week than we did this week, and we will do that. This is a continual climb to where we want to go and where we want to be as a team. Individually and collectively, we will get there."

The next step on the climb comes Tuesday.