Press Conference

Freddie Kitchens reflects on loss to Baltimore, team looks to rebound for final game of the season - press conference 

Opening statement:

"Of course, yesterday was disappointing. A very good Ravens team that has done a fantastic job over the last 11 weeks took advantage of our mistakes that we made – what good teams usually do. Especially at the end of the first half, they took advantage of that, and we were never really able to recover. We know it has been a disappointing season up to this point for our fans. Hopefully, we learn from our mistakes moving forward and become a better team because of it in all areas. Offensively, we were not able to sustain enough drives on third down and covert third downs. We were 3-12 on third down and then lacked producing the big plays from the standpoint of what we did the first time we played them in Baltimore. Defensively, it was the exact opposite. We were not able to get off the field on third downs, and we allowed them to make big plays. That was ultimately the difference in the ball game. Special teams, I thought we did a good job of covering kicks consistently and physically, and of course, we need to make that extra point. We have a lot of things we can learn from yesterday moving forward and continue to work this week to get the desired result at the end of this week."

On the most disappointing aspect of the season beyond the team's record:

"This is a result-oriented business and you are only judged off the results a lot of times, but I do feel like we made progress. We have done enough things to learn from our mistakes moving forward – offensively, defensively, special teams, coaching, playing and everything. We have been in some situations during the course of the year that our guys have not ever been in. I think we can grab a hold of that and get better from that moving forward, and the next time we are in some of these situations, we will be better."

On what he wishes he could have back from yesterday:

"Me personally, I wish that I could have back right before the half. I think that put us behind the eight ball a little bit, and we were not able to recover. I would like to have total confidence in our players to execute. Give Baltimore credit, they made the plays right there and we did not get the clock started. When it got to third down, I should have started the clock. I should have ran the ball and just started the clock, but I had the confidence that is was an easy completion, and they made a good play getting their hands up."

On if he referring to the three-and-out late in the first half:

"Yes."

On calling a halfback pass on third-and-one:

"That is a shot you either look like an expert or you look like a goat, and I looked like a goat. We took a shot. I wanted to remain aggressive during the whole game, and that is one of those things that did not work."

On how the team's experiences this year will help the group next season in those situations next year:

"I think that is an excellent question and I would say this, I think as many times you put someone in a situation, they have to get better at it. I think we reacted better yesterday to some of it than we did earlier in the year. I think that is an excellent point. Every time you experience something new, you learn from it. I think our guys have done a good job of learning and staying focused. I thought the one thing they did last week that was excellent that I commended them for today was they stayed focused during the course of the week, blocked out the noise from the Arizona game and stayed focused and really went out and put their best foot forward. Played with tremendous effort and enthusiasm in a big time environment for us. I know a lot of people did not realize it, but for us, we still had belief and hope. I thought those guys did a great job, an excellent job during the course of the week of just staying focused on the task at hand. That is one thing that we have learned throughout the year is that is the only thing you can control. Sometimes you do not get that experience until you go through it. I think those guys with all these instances, they can learn from it moving forward individually, collectively, players, coaches, together and all those things."

On if learning from those experiences applies to him as head coach and where has he grown this year:

"Listen, I truly feel like I am my worst critic. Whether we win or lose, I try to critique myself. I feel like I have people around me that if I ask them a question, they will answer my honestly. A lot of times as the head coach, you can't get honest feedback. I think that is a benefit that I have here. I get honest feedback when I ask certain people questions. Yea, every time I go through something new, I learn from it. My learning progress is continuing to go upward. I think when you get into a situation where it goes downward, then you are in trouble. I feel like every situation that I gone into, I have learned something with."

On the Browns offense taking the field on fourth down, followed by a timeout and a punt and a similar occurrence happening against the Cardinals:

"Yesterday was simply we had just thrown a pass down the field and I think Rat (WR Damion Ratley) went off the field. We called the personnel grouping, went on the field and we had another receiver substitute in for him thinking he needed a blow because he was down the field. We were not going to go for it. We were trying to draw them offside, and it did not really matter."

On the play clock winding down often as the offense looks to line up, particularly last week against the Cardinals:

"I think one thing those guys got better at this week was getting in and out of the huddle in a timely manner. They did a better job of getting lined where they were supposed to. That was the one instance yesterday. I think it was just a substitution error. That is all."

On calling timeout rather than taking a delay of game penalty in that fourth down situation:

"Not to get too much in the scheme, we had a situation where we were going to go for it if they had of lined up in a certain look. I did not want any confusion to be made. I just wanted to get everything back under control at that point. It was better, given the potential disaster of the outcome. That was it."

On why the Browns have not used no-huddle, hurry-up offenses as much as in 2018:

"We develop a plan every week to try to give us the best chance to win. It is always in the potential to have it in. It goes down to execution from the standpoint of whether you are in the huddle or not in the huddle. We did a good job on our no-huddle offense yesterday. In hindsight, maybe I should have used a little bit more of it."

On why was the running game not as productive yesterday:

"At the end of the day, the game is about blocking and tackling. We just did not block them well enough and we did not run well enough. I thought we did a good job from the standpoint of getting on them, but creating movement, I do not think we did a good enough job and I think everybody would attest to that."

On how frustrating it is when the Browns start off strong with a big play to WR Odell Beckham Jr. and then the drive stalls due to penalties:

"The holding penalty, the second play of the game was a huge play, too. We have to continue to try to play with our composure. I will let you be the judge on the other stuff. I do not know. I know (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) has done that before and nothing has been called. I do not know. That is their decision to make. I know that we need to eliminate all room for error when it comes to… We allow them the possibility of throwing a flag whenever we do things like that, and I think Odell has learned from that."

On feedback has he received from Dee and Jimmy Haslam and General Manager John Dorsey about the job he has done this year:
"I am focused on doing my job right now, and I think that is where they want my focus. I have not gotten anything but total support from those guys. They want me doing my job, and that is what I am trying to do on an everyday basis."

On if he has asked for an assurance that he will be back next year:

"No. I got assurance when I got hired. No, I have not and won't [ask for it]. I do not know how to answer that. It is just I am doing my job today, and I will continue to do the best job I can possibly do."

On clarifying if he was given assurances that he would have more than one season with the team:

"You would have to ask [the reporter] what he meant by [the question]. I just know I have not ask for..."

On clarifying whether or not he has asked Browns leadership recently if he will be back next year:

"I have not asked that. I truly worry about today and get better today. We have a game on Sunday that we have to start getting ready for usually about 2 p.m. every Monday. That is the only thing I am concerned about."

On the type of honest feedback he requests when speaking to members of the Browns:

"It could be dress for travel or it could be something about a situation. It could be anything. I made a joke back in the spring about… Everybody around here is very, very supportive. I could not have wished for more support than we have gotten in everything that we do. Everybody in this building is pulling toward the same direction, and we are close in a lot of areas now. We are really close. Sometimes that gets lost in the shuffle, but we know how close we are, our players understand how close we are and our players understand how they can do better and coaches understand how they can do better. Whenever we get those things flipped, it will change. Everybody in this building has been nothing but total support so it could be anything."

On the importance of continuity, particularly at the head coaching position, and if the team can continue to grow around him and what the team is looking to build upon experience:

"We have a young core here that is experiencing life in the NFL for the first time, the first couple of years navigating through expectations that sometimes the outside puts on you. I think we have done a better and better job of that during the course of the year, realizing how you temper those expectations, but you are asking about something that is outside of my control. I am just trying to do my job."

On being asked about his job security when most first-year coaches are not asked questions in that regard during toward the end of their first seasons:

"I think there is really no win-win for me to answer that question, but I would say those questions stem more form you guys asking those questions and you rightly should ask. I am not trying to say that [you should not ask those questions]. It is just I only concern myself with the job I am doing and how I get this football team to play well on Sunday. That is truly the only thing I worry about. That is it. I do not care about the speculation. I do not care about anything that is out of my control. I only care about the things I can control and that is how I approach my job today and how I get my team ready to play on Sunday."

On if keeping play-calling duties throughout the season was the right decision:

"I think every decision I make is made in the best interest of this football team. I am never close-minded on anything. This is what I felt like gives us the best chance to win right now."

On if his comment about the team being close is in reference to winning, reaching the playoffs or just in general:

"Just winning in general, and if you win enough, you go to the playoffs. We did not win enough this year. We still had a chance yesterday. We had a chance to win the game, and we did not make enough plays to win the game. I think we had seven big plays the way we classify big plays against Baltimore in the first game and gave up four. Yesterday, it was flipped. We created three [big plays], and we allowed them to get seven. At the end of the day, that is the difference in the game."

On if the halfback pass on third-and-one would have been intended for TE Ricky Seals-Jones and if Seals-Jones was simply covered:

"We had a couple of different options on that play, and without giving any schematics away… I do not know when we will run it again (laughter)."

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