Press Conference

Freddie Kitchens postgame press conference - Browns vs. Steelers

Opening Statement:
Alright guys, of course disappointing in the result this game. We’re going to continue the same mindset. We need to be 1-0 at the end of this week coming up. Our guys got a dose of what playoff atmosphere was like. We need to continue to get better so we respond better the next time out. So, any questions?

Re: Baker Mayfield’s hand injury
Just a contusion right now. A bruise.

Do you think it affected the way he threw it in the second half?
I don’t think so. I think Baker’s fine.

Was an x-ray used at halftime?
It was.

What changed after getting off to such a strong start?
You know, they had three possessions in the first half. We played the tight game that we wanted to play. In the first half, we didn’t convert one time down in the red zone. We had to kick a field goal, and then two other times later in the game, we were down there and should have gotten touchdowns out of it. So that was really the difference in the game from an offensive perspective. You know, I told our guys, all three phases could have done something to prevent that or change the outcome of the game. We’ve got to realize when we’re in the moment to make a difference, and make a difference in the game and put it behind us, and then move onto the next play.

Did you notice how quiet the stadium was when you were up 10-0?
Yeah, definitely. You know, I think we were up 10-0 and they were on third down, and they had a long pass, they had a free play. We can’t do that. We’ve got to maintain our composure and get a stop. Get off the field, and then offensively, we’ve got to do something when we get it back. Then when we have a chance to pin them deep, we pin them deep and then keep them down there. When we have a kickoff back to us, we field the kickoff, correct, and get out so we have a chance to do something with it before the half. Those are bad sequences of plays that we can’t have. We had lapses of judgement, concentration, and focus. We need to finish the half in that moment. I don’t know what the play count was, but they had three possessions. So they had ten points out of three possessions. We kept the ball for 20 something minutes in the first half, I think. We played the game we wanted to play. We just need to finish on those drives, make the plays when they’re down there, and we’re down there in position to make the plays, make the plays. Protect, we need to do a better job of protecting down there, and that’s the ballgame. When you play games like that, you have to make sure you’re very efficient with those things.

Can you explain why Damarious Randall wasn’t here?
Well, a middle safety’s not going to do any help. They threw the ball down the middle of the field one time, and [Sheldrick] Redwine was there and made a good play on the ball and got the ball out. Middle field safety’s not making those plays on the sideline. They were throwing at our corners.

Can you explain why?
That’s between Damarious and I.

What’s your message to the guys and how you move forward?
We’re trying to go 1-0 this week. We’ll let all of the numbers and all of that kind of stuff work itself out in the end. We’re going to try and go 1-0 this week. We’re not going to change our approach and how we’re preparing and how we’re playing.

Do you think there’s something to a team of just knowing how to win?
I think a lot of it is just gaining that experience. You can talk about what you’re walking into until you’re blue in the face, and I think we handled that good by the way we started the game. We just need to make sure we continue that in the course of the game.

Was it hard for you with the personnel you have to be aggressive in your pass rush?
No. I think we just need to make sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing with our rush lanes. He [Devlin Hodges] got out of there a couple of times on scrambles, and then making sure we’re covering the guys we’re supposed to cover. We’re looking at the things we’re supposed to be looking at, and then get the pressure and getting down when we can.

Do you think the tackling took a step back today?
I think there were a lot of yards after contact that we need to get corrected. We’ll work on that this week.

What do you think happened after Terrance Mitchell got the interception?
That was not a good sequence. Again, we’ve got to recognize those moments or game changing moments. They go the ball at the half yard line coming out. They need to punt from down there, and we understand that. We’ll get better at it moving forward.

Why were you guys unable to regain that physical momentum that you had?
Well, I don’t know if I agree with that. I think they made more plays than us down the stretch. I think that’s what it comes down to. I think they got after us upfront a little bit, and I think we need to match that intensity, and continue moving forward with that same intensity that we started the game with. We have to be able to carry that through the whole game, and not just in short spurts. I think that’s a good learning experience for us today moving forward.

Can you explain what happened Friday with the t-shirt?
The t-shirt didn’t have anything to do with us at the 0-1 moving out. I wore a t-shirt. I wore a jacket with it. My daughters wanted me to wear the shirt, and I’d wear it again. I put a jacket on. I covered it up. I took a picture with a fan. That was as simple as that. The T-shirt didn’t cause us to give up 40-yard passes. We were ready to play. That’s the only thing people need to be concerned about. We were ready to play.

Were you content to let the clock run out at the end of the first half?
Well, after we popped that one run, your focus kind of changes. You know, we get the kickoff down there inside the five or wherever it was, and we pop one of the runs out to the 12. We pop another one, and then we were able to take a timeout and take a shot at it. Actually had a shot to do something there at the end to Odell [Beckham Jr.].

Baker’s glove didn’t have anything to do with the second half?
You know, I don’t know. I don’t think so.

Was there anything more you could have done to get Odell the ball more?
I tried to call plays that worked. Tried to call plays to get him open. Try to call plays to move the ball. I think we played the type of game that we needed to play to come in here and win. Thirty of their 38 sacks happened at home, so you couldn’t get into a deal where you were dropping back and throwing the ball all about. Protecting those edges, and then when we you start struggling a little bit inside, I don’t know what you do with that. So you’ve got to be able to continue to run the ball.

Do you feel good about your corners?
Well, I think we need to continue to work and strive attacking the football, competing on the football. You know, getting the ball out, some of those things we were at on an every-day basis. Our drills and during practice, and we’ll continue moving forward and get better at it.

Are there more tests to come for Baker Mayfield’s hand?
Yeah. I mean, that’s all of got right now on that.

Have you felt at any time this year that any outside stuff has had an impact on this team’s performance?
No. No, I do not. I do not think that at all.

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