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Press Conference

Freddie Kitchens talks penalties, Nick Chubb and more - Press Conference

Opening statement:

"Of course, last night was disappointing. We went up there to win a game. and we certainly did not do that. We did not do anything to help ourselves win the game. We actually beat ourselves with turnovers and penalties. We expect to clean up a bunch of that this week. We have been focused on trying to clean those up and it has not gotten done yet so we got to continue to harp on it. Each individually has to make a commitment to doing that on an everyday basis. That is where it is going to start because you have no chance to win a game if you do those things, which is very evident."

On accounting for penalties and why the area continues to be an issue:

"Most pre-snap and post-snap penalties are focus and concentration on the task at hand in a timely manner. (DE) Myles Garret has had six penalties this year – five of them came in the first two games so he did something to correct his mistakes. We need more guys doing that."

On how much it bothers him that he has been talking about discipline and correcting errors like penalties since training camp:

"It is a commitment that they have to have to each other and accountability to each other because it is very evident that it is costing us football games. When they decide that, it will change. We are going to do the things to speed up that process, which we have been doing. Everybody understands the problems. We are going to work to fix those problems."

On what more can he do as a coach to correct penalties other than say 'do not do it':

"There are a couple of things that we are going to do this week to see if it works."

On if he can elaborate on what the team will do differently this week in that area:


On G Justin McCray's performance at LT yesterday:

"I thought he fought. I did not think he did too bad for his first start and away. He gave up a sack. The guy actually slipped and fell and kind of caught his knee. It was kind of a weird deal. I thought he fought. He was good in the run game. He fought in protection. I thought he was OK."

On if Browns players could see reduced playing time as a result of penalties and mental errors to help reduce those mistakes:

"Everything is always on the table when you continue to do the same things over and over again. I would leave it at that probably right now. Everything gets evaluated whenever the same problem keeps happening to the same people. It is different people at different times. It is not just them. I understand what you said about a couple of those guys. They are going to work to fix their problems. Everybody needs to work to fix their problems and do their job. Ultimately, if we feel like a change is needed either to increase our chances of being successful on every play, which in return will increase our chances of being successful at the end of the day, then we will do it. We will not hesitate in doing that. You have no chance in some of the penalties that we have had that have created long down and distances. Then you have no chance to be successful with that drive. If you eliminate some of those drives, you do not have so many drives to do anything with, and that is where we are right now. Offensively, we are doing some good things, but we are killing ourselves with turnovers and penalties. That is all it is."

On why WR Antonio Callaway is getting more playing time than WR Rashard Higgins:

"We feel like he is doing better right now. Hig has been back two weeks. Contrary to popular belief, Higgins was not ready to play three weeks ago. Ask Higgins again about two weeks ago. He may have a different answer now. I am not answering questions about playing time. We are playing who we think is giving us the best chance to win right now."

On discipline Browns players face during the week for in-game mistakes:

"I am not going to get into what happens during our practices, but if you guys were at training camp, you saw what the offensive line and everybody had to do when they jumped offside. There has to be some kind of consequence, but I am not going to get into what we are doing during practice during the course of the week."

On recent holding penalties and illegal hands to the face penalties impacting drives and if that is a result of technique:

"Sometimes the hands to the face happens. It seems to be happening a little too often when we can control. Some of it is their hands are in the right place, their hands get knocked upward and hits the head. It happens. Things like that happen, but what causes insult to injury a lot of times are those others things that are repetitive like the false starts that you can control by concentration and focus on what you have to do. The first thing you have to do is go off when the ball is snapped. The hands to the face are costly penalties because of the yardage that it means, but a lot of times, the post-snap penalties are from playing with passion instead of emotion. You just try to clean it up and that is what we are trying to do, but it takes commitment from each individual that is committing these penalties to do it. I think moving forward these guys are going to be committed to doing that."

On how to convey to the team 'needing to beat Denver in the worst way':

"We need to win every game in the worst way. You do not look ahead. You stay in the moment. I think our guys will do a great job of staying in the moment, preparing on Wednesday, then coming back and preparing on Thursday Friday and going to playing the game. Eliminate the penalties, eliminate the turnovers and we will be fine.

On electing to take a penalty on fourth down in the fourth quarter with the punt team on the field and then going for it on fourth down:

"Sometimes in the course of action with punt teams, sometimes they are used to when you are at your own 25 or whatever we were, just fourth-and-11, they are running on the field. The buck stops with me. I should not have let that happen, but once the punt team was out there, there were two choices: use your last timeout or take a penalty. I decided to take a penalty."

On if he decided at the beginning of that possession that the Browns would go for it on fourth down if needed:

"Yes. Yes."

On if that should have been communicated better with the players and staff:

"It should have, yes, which is my fault."

On what Browns players need to do transition crisp practices to games:

"Focus and concentration on doing what you are supposed to be do and eliminating all other distractions and only worrying about what we have to do on that play. The first thing I have to worry about is the snap count, and it can't be off a defense's noise or a defense's movement. It just has to be off my job and knowing what our snap count it. Then it kind of complicates things too because then you get into a situation where you do not want to use the snap count for your advantage. Now they get a jump on you, and it complicates protection so it is kind of a snowball effect. It all starts with the focus and concentration of the snap count, and then we can get better at the other aspects of it. When you jump offside, you have no chance. You do not even run the play."

On his message to RB Nick Chubb about his two fumbles against New England:

"There are always things you can do to improve when you have a turnover. If you are carrying the ball improperly, you are more likely to fumble. If you do not have it in the right arm, you are more likely to fumble. Those are all things Nick can learn from, and he will. I have no doubt Nick will learn from those moving forward."

On if he would agree that Chubb has been one the offense's most effective players this season:

"I think Nick brings the same thing to the table every day. Whether it is practice or game, it does not matter, he is going to be there to work."

On if Chubb's response and bouncing back from his mistakes can be a lesson for the team:

"Of course. You use every opportunity like that to point out that everybody in the locker room knows what Nick Chubb is about and knows how he is and the type of player he is. He is resilient. You want a football team that is resilient. We are going to find out how resilient we are. At the end of the day, it goes back to the same two things: turnovers and penalties. Defensively getting a stop when you need it, which that is what it comes down to and that is what most games in the National Football League come down to. Those do not fool anybody."

On the similarities between Patriots RB James White's 59-yard screen-pass reception and Titans RB Derrick Henry's screen-pass reception in Week 1 after the Browns had cut the game to one score in both instances:

"I will let you watch the tape, but it was definitely, the screen pass, was a big play. They actually had two that were pretty big plays that we have to come up with a stop there. Those guys know that, and we will work to get those corrected just like we are working on our corrections on offense."

On if Browns DBs were in the correct coverages on certain plays against the Patriots and if he would like to see adjustments there:

"Yeah, we just need to compete for the ball a little more right there, a little tighter coverage. They were in the right coverage. It was not a blown coverage in those instances. We would just like to have a little more tighter coverage, per se, and not worry about getting run by so much. Our guys are fast enough, they are long enough and playing with confidence. That was early in the game. I think those guys got back into the flow of things pretty good."

On clarifying wanting players to get after the ball and break on the ball a little quicker in those instances:

"Just get after it, yes."

On if the intercepted shovel pass intended for WR Jarvis Landry coming off two fumbles on back-to-back plays was too risky:

"No, I do think so. It is a 4-yard, 3-yard little shovel. We have run it several times. We just did not execute what we were supposed to do up front."

On if QB Baker Mayfield did not have a chance to see Patriots DT Lawrence Guy breaking through the line on the INT:

"No, you would like to second guess everything. You would say, 'Yeah, you can hold onto that,' but that does not happen. I have never seen that happen. We have to execute up front with that."

On details resulting in costly mistakes, specifically in reference to G Joel Bitonio who is an established veteran and Pro Bowl talent:

"When you talk about the details of things, that is usually what hurts you in games like that because you have to be good with your details. Joel will come back from it, and he will have a much better game next week. That is all I am going to say about that."

On the lack of discipline and errors reflecting back on the head coach:

"I agree totally. Everything about the program should reflect on me and I will accept it, but I also have a hand in fixing it."

On WR Odell Beckham Jr.'s comment about wishing the team would have challenged Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore more:

"Odell had seven balls thrown to him. He caught five of them. I am not responding to that. We need to win a football game. That is what I am worried about."

On if McCray played well enough to earn the start at LT against the Broncos:

"I do not know yet."

On if the fourth-and-11 penalty is a sign he may have too much on his plate as head coach and offensive play caller and he may need to adjust play calling responsibilities:

"No. It is not happening. I am calling the plays. I am the head coach. That is not happening."

On if there is anything the Browns can do logistically to improve the challenge process on the sideline, given recent results on challenges:

"I think we have a pretty good setup in the box. Those guys, they give their opinion pretty quickly. The one with Antonio with the offensive PI, that was a big play in the game right there. I felt like that would have been a big conversion if we could have gotten it. Now, we need to get better at our technique, but as far throwing the flag – the rules states 'a generous yard' is the exact wording, I think – a very generous one-yard on either side of the line of scrimmage. The guy was pressed at 1 yard, and I thought it was a good opportunity to take a chance. Sometimes you have to take a chance in those situations and see what they see. Would they have come back and said, 'Well, he actually did not initiate the contact' or 'Yeah, he was inside just over a yard so they may pick it.' You just have to go off what the rule says and try to make a calculated risk versus the reward, and that is what I did in that situation."

On how to avoid the penalty when Callaway was called for offensive pass interference:

"We have to avoid the contact there. You can't make the contact, unless he is inside of a yard. That is kind of the dilemma. If he is inside of a yard, you can literally block, him and that is with a generous yard. We had a couple of opportunities to win the challenge so I think it is such a big play in the game that it is kind of a calculated risk."

On the offensive pass interference called on WR Rashard Higgins:

"I am not commenting on that."

On QB Baker Mayfield and WR Jarvis Landry landing hard on their shoulders yesterday:

"They will be fine."

On an injury update from yesterday:

"(S) Damarious (Randall) is probably the only one. Right now he is day to day."

On the rotation at RG and who will play this week:

"Everything is being evaluated. At some point, we have to start building some depth up there and see where we are at."

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