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Press Conference

Freddie Kitchens talks Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, O-line and more - Press Conference

Opening statement:

"We have New England this week. Obviously, they are the class of the NFL and have been for quite some time. Defensively, they rank first in the league in all the major categories. They have given up two touchdowns. In the red zone, they lead the league – they have given up one touchdown and one field goal. They lead the league in turnovers with 22 turnovers, 18 of those being interceptions. Plus-14 as a team in takeaway/giveaway. Of course, they are able to run the ball and throw the ball efficiently. (Patriots QB) Tom (Brady) is as good as he ever has been. Special teams, they blocked two punts for touchdowns. Offensively, they continue to put themselves in position to be successful. They get it to their playmakers, and they make the plays. We have a tremendous challenge. We have to continue to try to get better each and every day to give ourselves a chance to compete with these guys. They are what you strive to be in this league is consistent winners, play great complementary football in all three aspects of the game and I have not mentioned anything about the coaching and the coaching speaks for itself. (Patriots Head Coach) Coach (Bill) Belichick is a guy I have always admired in the way he conducts business, in the way he conducts his team and the success has followed. We have our work cut out for us. A tremendous challenge."

On challenges the Patriots defense presents:

"They make sure you dot all your i's and cross all you t's from a standpoint of protections. They are going to attack your protections in detail. They are a very detailed-oriented defense. They very much play with passion. They get to the football. Assignment wise, they do not miss any assignments. They make you beat them, which that is what you want to do as a defense. You want to make the offense continue to make plays, and they make you do that. They make you run several plays and you have to do it with precision or they are going to be there to make a play. They do not miss tackles. Their secondary is excellent in tackling. Their linebackers are obviously excellent tacklers, and they continue to get push up front. When they do call blitzes and the pressures, they do a tremendous job of maintaining gap integrity so you can't get out and run on them and things like that. They do a good job across the board."

On the Patriots winning their last 20 games against first or second-year quarterbacks:

"When you start talking about quarterback play, everything is about putting pressure on the quarterback and making him make decisions where he ready to make them, and they do an excellent job, the best in the league in doing that. It was evident the other night that they continue to put pressure on the quarterback, and that is the name of the game in defensive football. To cover guys, they challenge you, they play man coverage, they challenge you, they make you win and win one-on-one matchups and then they get the ball out of the quarterbacks hands as quick as possible from their pressures."

On if the bye week was a good opportunity for QB Baker Mayfield to clear his mind out and refresh for the second half of the season:

"I think it was good for everybody to kind of push the reset button from the standpoint of take a deep breath, per se, realize where we and continue to try to get better moving forward. It was a great opportunity to press the reset button."

On if the Patriots defense is as good as the statistics show:

"They are, and they are as good as their record indicates. You are what your record is, and they are 7-0. The numbers are one thing, but when you put the tape on and you see how they are getting pressure, you see how they are getting sacks and you see how they are getting interceptions, all that kind of correlates. There is no weaknesses on that side of the ball. Offensively, they have several guys that can make the plays, and of course, you are dealing with probably the best quarterback of all time. That is before you ever get to the coaching –the best coaching in the National Football League history probably. Look at the Super Bowls. That is what you strive to do is be what they are on every level. I do not see many weaknesses anywhere there, probably in the whole state of Massachusetts."

On what Mayfield needs to do to prevent interceptions, given the Patriots defense's high production in the category:

"First and foremost, we have to take care of ourselves from a standpoint of not turning the ball over and giving them easy access to the football. If we do that, we will be OK, but they do a tremendous job of making the ball come out of the quarterback's hands before he is ready for it to come out. You have to be precise with your routes. You have to be precise with your decision-making. All of the things that a quarterback is taught to do, they speed up that process for them very quickly. That is what you strive to do defensively is to affect the quarterback, and they have done tremendous job of that – best in the league. You said something about the numbers are staggering. To me, they are more than staggering. This is a record-breaking pace that they are on and a pace that I do not know will ever be matched. Listen, they are tremendous in all areas." 

On the Browns are ready to share final decisions on the starting OL:

"No, we will wait until Sunday."

On if the Browns have determined the starting OL for Sunday:

"No yet."

On if this is the best time for the Browns to potentially make changes to the OL, particularly given the performance of the Patriots defense:

"When we make changes, it is more about us than it is about them. I would say that part of it does not matter."

On cohesiveness of the Browns OL as it relates to potential changes, particularly given the Patriots defense's pass rush:

"My job is to put those guys in good situations, and their job is to perform, whoever is out there. I think once we start leaning towards that and making sure we are doing our job in all areas, we will be fine. It is also my responsibility to make sure we have the guys out on the field that give us the best chance of doing that. I have never said anything about possible changes. You guys have said that or asked me those questions. Just because guys are taking different reps are different positions does not mean changes are being made. I just do not want you guys to get mad at me on Monday that no changes are made. 'Oh, I thought changes were made.' Well hell, you are the ones that said it. I did not say it."

On areas needing improvement for the Browns OL, given the number of sacks and QB hits allowed:

"Like, you are trying to ask the question differently so I will give you an answer. What do you think? Do you think he is trying to ask a different question to make me think it is a different question so I can answer the real question (laughter)? Those numbers are staggering. To me, those numbers are bad in saying that. To me, it does not matter what the numbers say. It matters about what our potential is, and potential gets you beat. I have said that since the summer. Potential, the only thing it does is it gives you the opportunity to not reach it, OK? Those numbers or making changes and all of that, that is still just potential. We could have the best guys out there, and if they are not playing to the best of their ability, that is just potential, and potential gets you beat. That is what I would say to that. That is the only thing I can say to that. I know you are trying to see if we are making changes."

On Belichick's ability to incorporate players into his system and have them succeed quickly, specifically in reference to former Browns and Patriots LB Jamie Collins Sr. and DB Jason McCourty:

"They have done a tremendous job throughout the years of doing that. I know it is not a surprise to anyone anymore, and it seems like when guys leave there, they are not as good of players as they were there. Hats off to everything they do from an organization standpoint. Certainly, coaching, evaluating, every aspect, they are kind of the staple of what you are shooting for from the standpoint of when you relay it to the success that they have had, it is tremendous. You guys tell me a weakness they have. They do not have weaknesses. What would you say their weakness it?

On placekicking being the Patriots weakness:

"Placekicking? For so many years, they had one of the best so let's cut that guy some slack for just a couple weeks."

On how far off the Browns are from being a team and organization at the level of the Patriots:

"I do not even think in those terms. I just want us to play the best we can play from the standpoint of how we prepare today, how we prepare tomorrow, get to Sunday and then I want us to take what we have prepared and practiced for, take it to the game and see where we stand. That is every week. It does not matter who we play form that standpoint. We play who we play, but of course, you have to recognize the fact that you are going up against somebody that is tremendous in all areas. Now, Tony (Grossi) said something about the placekicking. I will go back, they have also blocked two kicks for touchdowns so their special teams unit is pretty special, too."

On how well he got to know Collins and his performance in New England this season:

"I think Jamie is a tremendous player. He makes a lot of tackles for them. He makes a lot of plays for them. He scored a touchdown. He is always around the football from the standpoint of if the ball is on the ground or in the air, he is going to make plays on the ball. He is an instinctive player. I can keep going on and on about Jamie as far as him being a football player, and I thought he was a good teammate."

On if Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore stands out on the Patriots defense:

"No doubt. He is one of the best in the league."

On Gilmore:

"He is able to run with guys. He is able to make plays on the ball, and the play is never over until the whistle blows. They are going to attack the football, even when the football is in the receiver's hands. You see sometimes when the ball comes out after the catch, which ultimately, if you do not complete the catch, it is an incomplete pass. They do a tremendous job of attacking the football in the arms of the receivers."

On if it is frustrating to see Collins playing so well with the Patriots after being released by the Browns in the offseason:

"Every time I watch the tape, there are 11 guys that frustrate you because they play so well, but Jamie is a good player for them."

On if watching Patriots film is 'the best lesson in attention to detail':

"I think they do their job. I think everybody does their job. I think everybody takes pride in the fact that they do their job and they can trust each other to do their job. I think once you get to that point, of course, your success goes up because your reliability goes up, your dependability goes up and your accountability goes up. It all works hand in hand and they are one of the best or the best."

On if the 'do your job' mantra has ties to Pro Football Hall of Fame Head Coach Bill Parcels, given both he and Belichick use it often:

"I learned it from coach Parcels, yes – the statement – but really if you simplify things, everybody has a job. If they do their job, your chances of success increases. It does not guarantee anything – you still have to play well – but you need to do your job. I know Coach Belichick was with Coach Parcels. I do not really know where it came from initially, but I know that is where I got it from, yes."

On how to help keep a QB from 'seeing ghosts' during the course of the game, given NY Jets QB Sam Darnold's comment on Monday:

"You strive every week to make your quarterback comfortable in the things you are calling and try to make him comfortable in the things he sees and where his eyes go and things like that. New England does a tremendous job – I am not going to comment too much on what was said there – but I know they do a tremendous job of affecting the quarterback, and you try to eliminate that as much as possible."

On if he has concerns one his players might not realize they are on camera and have something they not want shared broadcast to the public:

"No, I do not really know what the question is Jake (Trotter). I am sorry. I do not want our players to ever seem like they are in a bad light, but I also want them to be themselves. You hope that they make good decisions. As far as what they say on the field, that is a whole another discussion about cameras, microphones and stuff like that. It is probably not the time or place to have that conversation."

On if he was ever in a situation where he 'saw ghosts' when he played:

"Let me tell you about quarterbacks in the National Football League, they usually do not end up coaches. If they were any good at all, they probably are not coaches. I am not trying to dig anybody other than the fact that I was not very good so when I woke up in the morning, I usually saw ghosts. If I knew I was practicing that day – hell, ask the coaches I played for – I saw them. I do not know if it was ghosts that I was seeing, but it was something other than my receiver. Usually, I was seeing the other team's colors because usually I threw more to them than I did mine."

On players speaking their minds about officiating and league policies that result in fines:

"I like money so I am not going to complain about the officials. If they want to give their money to the league, they can do it. I do not know. I do not know how to answer that. It does not matter to me either way. I would like for them to keep their money, but I also like our guys to be passionate about what they are doing. They have a decision to make, I guess."

On concerns that players complaining publicly about officials or league could put a target on the team:

"She is trying to get me fined now, right? We try to control what we can control, that is it. As long as those guys are not hurting the team, it does not matter. My concern is the team, and I do not want them hurting their team with comments and neither one of them has. As far as comments about officials and stuff like that, I am going to stay away from that because I can't control the officials. I am not in their meetings. I am not in their pregame deals and all that kind of stuff. I just want to control our team from the standpoint of putting them in the best positon to win."

On if the Browns are the healthiest they have been since the start of the season following the bye week:

"Yeah, I think there is no doubt about that."

On S Damarious Randall's status:

"He will be the only one not practicing today."

On the timetable for Randall's return:

"It is kind of just a day-to-day thing."

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