Press Conference

Freddie Kitchens looks back on Rams loss, updates injuries and more - Press Conference

Opening statement:

"A lot to take away from last night and to learn from – me personally, as a team, as an offense. Defensively, I want to commend those guys for doing an incredible job. You are talking about a team who had three mental errors when our goal was 10 or under. I do not like to give a lot of details, but that is a fascinating stat from the standpoint of what they did and how they played together. We have total confidence in everybody that is on our team that they have the ability to step up and play well whenever they are called up. I thought (CB) T.J. (Carrie), (S) Eric (Murray), Mitch (CB Terrance Mitchell), (S) Juston (Burris) – who just had gotten here 24 hours prior to that – and (S) Jermaine (Whitehead) did a great job on the back end of things. They were physical in the run game and really did not allow anything over their heads, which they have been known to do before. Offensively, we are not there quite yet. We are going to continue to work and get better, and that started today in making some corrections in things we were doing and things like that. I think everybody is committed to doing that. Special teams was very solid last night. You are looking at one of the better special teams in the National Football League, and I thought we did a good job in that area. We made all of our kicks. The punter (Jamie Gillan) had a couple of off-kicks. Other than that, he came back and punted the ball pretty well.

"We are three games into a 16 game season so that means we have 13 left. We are worried about Baltimore moving forward. We need to prepare for Baltimore this week like it is the only game of the year because that is the only one that matters right now.

"Injury-wise, I think we got out of the game without any serious injuries and just some bumps and bruises. We should be getting some of our other guys back, which are probably more day-to-day things than anything."

On what he wishes he could have done differently on Cleveland's final drive:

"They had killed a couple of timeouts in each half. They were down to one timeout at the end of the first half and at the end of the second half at the end of the game there. I thought we did a good job of keeping those timeouts, and you keep them for those reasons. Being critical of myself, I do wish I would have given the ball to (RB) Nick (Chubb) one time, but it did not happen. As you move forward, and I have to understand this, I know our coaches understand this and I think our team understands this is that some of these situations are new for me. I understand that, but I also understand that I will get better from it and I understand our team will get better from them. Our team has not been in that situation before so our team will get better. The next time that arises, we will be better because of it. The thing I want to stress to everyone is we are building this thing. 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."

Check out photos of the Browns in action against the Rams on Sunday Night Football

On if he expected the Browns offense to seamlessly continue its success from late last season:

"No, I did not because no two teams are ever the same. You can bring the same team back with the same players and have them play together for another year, and it will not be the same. I knew there were going to be growing pains. 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. We started training camp with this mantra that we want to get better every day. We just want to live in the moment and be in the moment. That is what we are trying to do. We are trying to be in the moment. As situations arise, we get better at those and we try to prepare ourselves for those moving forward so that we handle those situations good. It falls into that category. No two teams are the same, and you are not going to pick up where you left off – nobody does. I am not going to talk about any other teams, but there is no team in the National Football League that picked up where they left off."

On clarifying his postgame comment that he should have called a more 'direct run':

"It just should have been a better play call. I will just leave it at that. I do not want to get into any more details other than it should have been a better play. I should have put our guys in a better situation to make a play when they needed to make a play and that is on me."

On if the 4th-and-9 was an RPO:

"That is the same thing. I should have put them in a better situation, a better play call. I thought that was what you were asking about. Was it the fourth down call down in the red zone?

On clarifying the question related to the plays on the 4-yard line:

"No, same thing. I should have called a better play in general."

On if QB Baker Mayfield has the freedom to run the ball in those situations:

"I should have called a better play, all-around play there. Everybody knows what they are doing. Not to insinuate. Everybody did the right thing. I should have called a better play."

On Mayfield saying that he will have reoccurring nightmares about missing WR Jarvis Landry underneath on the goal-line attempt to TE Demetrius Harris:

"I like Baker because he takes ownership in things, but I need to put Baker in a better situation. That is my fault. That is solely my fault."

On if the pass to TE Demetrius Harris in the end zone was catchable:

"I do not know. You watched the game, too. It is our job as an offense and it is my job as a coach to put those guys in good situations and situations that can succeed at. It is their job to make the plays. Everybody understands that portion of it. I just need to a better job consistently putting these guys in a better situation."

On if it has been more complicated to incorporate specific concepts in the offense with the addition of offensive coordinator Todd Monken and last year's scheme:

"This is 100 percent the Cleveland Browns offense. We are not going to start that."

On if he has resolved the disappointment with himself following tough losses and if he has sounding boards to rely on and express his sentiments:

"I will say this about that this organization. I have tremendous resources right here in this building from an organizational standpoint and from a coaching staff. If I ever do need – it seems like you may be insinuating that I need some kind of psychology help at times (laughter), but, if I ever did, I would have that resource, too (laughter). I could go deep with you right now, but I am not going to. I am just going to say that I am doing fine. Our players know that they are the only ones that matter. Our players know that they are going to get the best they got from me that I have every day, every week and every game. I am pretty sure that they have my back just like they know I got theirs. We will be just fine moving forward. I really truly appreciate your concern. I do, but we are going to be fine. I promise you that."

On if the Browns team need a blocking RB/FB for the running game:

"I did not expect that question coming in here today. I did not. We are continuing to look for guys to block. I will say this, I thought we ran the ball very efficiently last night. When you do not have the prototypical fullback, you have to be more imaginative in how you scheme to run the football and I thought we did a good job of running the football last night. Are we missing the guy that can lead block? I will always take good football players. Are we missing one? I would not say so. I think we have guys that can do the things that we need to do in our offense. We just need to do them better. I need call better plays. We need to be more efficient on how we go about our business."

On if running the offense, calling the plays, running the team and managing the game is more overwhelming than he expected:

"Not at all, really. I could elaborate on it more, but it is really not even as much as I thought. That is kind of a non-issue. I do not ever want that to be part of the problem. That has nothing to do with me calling better plays, me coming up with a better plan during the course of the week and us executing the plan. That is not an issue."

On if there will be any consideration for him to no longer call plays:

"You can write that if you want to, but that is not even feasible. That is not being considered. No, it is not."

On if the Browns would have gone for two if they would have scored a TD at the end of the game:

"Would you like to know that? You really want to know do you? I can not tell you that. You are giving away my secrets for later. We went there last night to win the football game. Y ou can draw your conclusions from there. We went there with the sole [objective of winning]. I do not care how many guys we had out, everybody was panicking about that but not in this building. We went there to win the football game. We put ourselves in position to win it at the end, and we did not get the job done. I did a poor job at the end of the game. We did a poor job executing. Our defense gave us every opportunity to win the game. Our special teams gave us every opportunity to win the game. Offensively, we got ourselves down there and then I did not do a good enough job at the end of the game to win it."

On if the end of game felt similar to the 2018 season finale at Baltimore of needing a score late:

"I would say it did not, but it is good memory on your part. I will say this, last year's end of that game was a learning process for me as a play caller. I feel like I am more ready to handle that situation now than I was last year. Next time this situation occurs, I will be more ready next time. I will put our guys in better situation."

On how his past experience can help him navigate through his first year being a head coach:

"I think everything I have every done, there has been adversity to it. The one thing our players know about me is that I am not going to panic. I am going to stay who I am, whether you like it or dislike it. It does not really matter to me, but I know our players have trust and confidence in me that I will not panic and that I will do my very best to put them in situations to be successful. My life, though, has been all about adversity. This is nothing. This is just doing your job a little better next time out."

On how long it takes for a new personnel group to fully get on the same page and run on full cylinders:

"I do not really know how to answer that question other than to tell you I just want to see constant improvement, and I think we are doing that. I think we are better at certain things this week than we were last week. We had a couple of drives there where we just did not finish the drive, but we moved the ball, got ourselves down there and ended kicking field goals instead of finishing the drive. It is a totally different outlook if you just finish those drives, even the one in the first quarter. I just want to see constant improvement. I do not even know how to judge on all cylinders, per se. Even going back to last year, there were things last year we could have done better. I just want to see constant improvement. If we are better next week than we were next week, then that is improvement. I want to be playing our best football at the end of the year. That is the way all good teams do it. Every good team I have been on was like that so that is what I want to see."

On where Mayfield improved last night than the first two games:

"I thought he found the guys over the middle of the field a little better. So much of playing quarterback has to do with the people around you so I think everybody has to take ownership and do their job a little better or more consistently – I would not say better, just more consistently so we can be more consistent on offense. In spurts yesterday, we moved the ball. I just do not think we did it consistent enough for anybody's liking. I think everybody has bought into the fact of that is what we need to do and that is what we will continue to try to do."

On how the Browns offense can look to take advantage of WR Odell Beckham Jr. receiving double coverage:

"I think we can use that to our advantage on the other side of the field and then it is hard for them to do that when we put him on the other side. Odell is lining up in several different spots now, which is a learning curve for Odell and a learning curve for some of our other receivers because they have to be able to play off of that. It is a learning process for a lot of different pieces that we have to learn. Nobody is and I am not panicking over it. We will get better in those areas because you present a different set of problems when he is lined up on the strong side as opposed to the weak side. Now, we just have to learn how to take that and use it as our advantage."

On confidence his play calling will improve:

"When you start talking about specifics like that, I just know how the guys around me are. I think you take the sense of you get a better feel for what people can do and what people can't do or the better situations that they can be in in relation to the situation you are putting them into currently. That is what you do. You do your work in the course of the week and you call it Sunday. If they do things differently, you make adjustments accordingly. I think we have been doing a good job of that. Now, it just needs to get more consistent."

On improving with penalties and having three penalties on the first drive:

"I think we have done a better job of maintaining composure. Now, the penalties you are talking about are you are going to have some during the play type penalties with holdings and sometimes the hand slides up to the face. You are going to have some of those, but what we have to do a better job of is maintaining our concentration and our focus on pre-snap penalties. Those are the ones I do not like having are the pre-snap and post-snap penalties – the ones that either have to do with focus or composure. We have gotten better with the composure-type penalties after the whistle. Now, we have to do a better job of maintaining focus and focus on the snap count, snapping the ball when you are supposed to or lining up properly. Those are the ones that we need to get better at now."

On if Mayfield is leaving the pocket too early:

"I think I need to do a better job of making him more comfortable in the pocket."

On if the Browns coaching staff meet as a group on Saturday and Sunday to talk about personnel changes and the gameplan as it relates to the injury status report:

"Yeah, we visit as a staff constantly every day as far as who is up and who is down. Prief (special teams coordinator Mike Priefer) needs to know who is up, who is down, who he can use and who is a backup. All of those things are a constant, fluid situation, especially when it happens essentially on a Friday."

On the importance of facing adversity, learning from it and not being overly reactionary, as well as especially following a tough loss and taking accountability for mistakes:

"That is when everything is going to run through me. I have several stories to draw from but now please, don't run with this. A couple things stand out with me. One, we [in Arizona] went to New England the next to last game of the year the year we went to the Super Bowl in 2008, and they beat us 49-7. I think that was the last time New England didn't go to the playoffs. (Patriots QB) Tom Brady was hurt. (Former NFL QB Matt) Cassel was the quarterback for New England. They beat us 49-7. I was kidding Cris Collinsworth the other day, he labeled us the worst team ever to make the playoffs and then we went on a run. It matters what you are doing late in the year. Another thing I would draw from is in Dallas, we went to Carolina and we were hovering around .500. We were around 4-4 or something like that, maybe 4-5. It was the last half of the year, and (Pro Football Hall of Fame Head) Coach (Bill) Parcells is going to make a quarterback change and he puts (former Cowboys QB) Tony Romo in over (former NFL QB) Drew Bledsoe on the road in Carolina, and we won the game. During the course of my career, I have had several people to look as examples of – this is probably a bit of a longer answer than you wanted – but I understand what is going on with our program right now. I also understand that for a lot of guys including myself, our staff and our players, it is a learning curve. The first game of the year was a learning curve. We have learned from that. This is going to be a learning curve. We took things from New York that we can learn from. It is different going on the road in the season than it is in the preseason. That was a learning curve. There are a lot of things that are new for us right now, and I am included in that, but I am not shying away from it. I am not shying away from our shortcomings, my shortcomings. I understand that my shortcomings indicate or put our guys in bad situations. They overcome some of it. They can't overcome some of the others. We will get better from it. Every step along the way, we will get better from it."

On the Browns sustaining two hamstring injuries late in the week and the response from the sports performance group:

"It was actually three, and it was all within 10 minutes of each other. I don't know if that is contagious or I don't know if it is more of a general practitioner doctor question in case something is running around the facility… I am being funny. You can laugh (laughter). It wasn't too funny, though, right? It wasn't too funny for me on Friday. I think we need to look at it individually and collectively and make sure that we are doing everything we need to. It probably falls more on the player knows what he needs, but I don't really have an answer for you. I wish I did have an answer for you. I don't have an answer for you. I will just be totally transparent. I just know individually we need to make sure we are doing what we need to do to make sure we are ready. The thing that throws you off in that is that it happened one period into practice. It was not like we weren't stretched, warmed up and ready to go and we hadn't been doing things already."

On previously stating the importance of the first five training camp practices as it relates to soft-tissue injuries and if there is a similar key date for the regular season:

"I am probably getting deeper than you really want to know, but you worry more about guys who go from not doing a lot in training camp to going 70 plays in the first regular season game. You would like to try to build their conditioning up from that standpoint. The difference between being in shape and endurance is huge because having endurance is being able to play a football play over and over and over and over again. We want to build endurance with our guys. Not necessarily that they are not in shape, just having endurance is different than being in shape. We need to make sure that we are doing that individually and collectively. Still with that, we were coming off of a Monday game so that was going through my head. Was it coming off a quasi-short week? Really, Monday night is not really a short week when it happens on the third day of the [practice] week. I have never seen it. I have never seen it so hopefully, I never see it again."

On the Browns success with RPOs last night and if that will become a staple of the offense:

"It was kind of a staple of the offense last year and it is a staple earlier this year. I just need to do a better job of calling them."

On why the Browns would not have offensive coordinator Todd Monken call plays for a stretch to see if things improve and create a sense of urgency:

"It is not going to happen."

On if he and Monken can collaborate with play calling:

"It is me. It is my fault. No, it is me. Todd does a great job during the course of the week of making sure we stay on task, we stay organized and all that kind of stuff. When things mess up, it is going to be me."

On if DE Myles Garrett was as aggressive last night as past weeks:

"They were doing a good job of making sure their edges were covered, but again, they opened up some pressure from inside by doing that. That is what you run the risk of. I think our defensive front played well. Our defense as a whole played well. If we are not getting pressure off the edges, we are getting it up front."

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