Press Conference

Freddie Kitchens talks reason behind Baker Mayfield's improvement, Christian Kirksey's leadership - Press Conference 

Opening statement:

“Just like I said the other day, another great opportunity on Monday night to put on display the work that our players have put in from a day-to-day basis. We are facing an excellent 49ers team that is 4-0, top five in defense and top five in offense. They do an excellent job running the ball – I think 175 yards a game running the ball. (49ers Head Coach) Kyle (Shanahan) has always done a great job in the run game and created unique ways to throw the ball down the field. Nothing has changed from that area and has been very successful doing it. Defensively, you are looking at five first-round draft picks up front. They are playing with great passion and energy. They get to the ball. They play hard. I do not know what else you want in a football team. They are very good.”

On 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo following his injury last season:

“He looks like he is back to 100 percent and making good throws. He can make every throw on the field. Making good decisions. He is a very good quarterback.”

On WR Jarvis Landry’s status:

“He is still in the concussion protocol.”

On status of CB Denzel Ward and CB Greedy Williams:

“They are still kind of day to day right now. We will see where we are at the end of the week.”

On what makes 49ers Shanahan’s offense so hard to defend, including the play-action elements:

“Anytime you can offer a sell of the run to create space for your receivers, your tight ends or whoever it may be, that puts a defense in kind of a conflict of interest, per se, from the standpoint of somebody has to support the run and somebody has to cover. Anytime you can get them in the situation of they do not know which one to do, that is advantageous for the offense.”

On why the 49ers defensive front will be the best the Browns have faced this season:

“Their skillset. You have five first-round draft picks that play for them up there. The proof is in the stats. They are top three or four in defense. They are playing real well. They are playing with a lot of passion and excitement. They bring a lot of energy to the field. When you start talking about their skillset, they are quick, they are fast, they are long, strong – a lot of attributes you like in defensive players.”

On if Sunday’s offensive performance was indicative of what the Browns’ offensive identity can consistently be:

“Yeah, but I think the thing about our business as I have said before is you get judged at the end of every week, and it is straight pass-fail. What you have to do sometimes is you have to temper those from the standpoint of you want to make just as much progress from the wins as you do the losses. Just because you lose a game does not mean you did not make progress, and just because you won a game does not mean you did not go backwards. You have to evaluate, call a spade a spade and say that these are the areas that we have to get better. I think our team has bought into that and has created an environment here that we just want to get better every day, and that is what we are going to try to do. I think we did some good things on Sunday, but it has to continue or you will not stay the same.”

On opportunities to be able to create or solidify an identity as a team following significant wins or losses:

“No doubt, and I think we have learned a lot about ourselves that moving forward, I think, will benefit us. Just have to get better this week and get better today. I am excited to get back out there on the field today. They are excited to get back out on the field today, and we just have to get better every week. I agree with you, you can form an identity and you can decide who you are and who you are not a lot of times the longer the season goes on. That is what I was talking about the other day, you begin to figure out who you are and who you are not, and sometimes it is better to figure out who you are not.”

On if success allows players or coaches to loosen up:

“I have never bought into that because I always think individually you try to put the pressure on yourself. If you are saying that or you are doing that, that means you are listening to outside noise. I do not buy into that mantra. I truly feel like the only people that can determine our game, our practice, our meeting and our season ultimately is us. If anything from outside comes into this building that has an impact on that negatively or positively, then that is not what we said we wanted to do. Hopefully, that answers your question.”

On if success can breed more success:

“I would say that yes, it does. You look at the best teams in the National Football League have won consistently over time. That is what you always strive to do. It has to start somewhere. Hopefully, we can string together good practices, we can string together good games and ultimately the wins come, hopefully and we will see where we are. Some of it has to do with where you are starting. I think everybody on our team understands the expectations, but we put those expectations on ourselves, not from any outside source. That sometimes is an advantage for you if you can keep it in that box of just worry about how you play and worry about how you prepare. That is all we want to do.”

On QB Baker Mayfield being more comfortable against the Ravens:

“I think one, he made a conscious effort to prepare. He prepares every week. He is a football guy. He made a conscious decision to prepare and play good with his eyes and his feet and things like that. One thing that gets overlooked sometimes is the guys around him play better, too. I have said this before, so much of the quarterback and his success is dictated on other people doing their job. We had a lot of people the other day doing their job. That is the expectation that I am talking about that we put on ourselves. Just do your job. Do what you are supposed to do, do it how you are supposed to do it and do it when you are supposed to do it. It is relatively simple. Now, it gets harder when you stop doing it on air and go against someone because they impact that, as well.”

On how much Chubb’s play factored into Mayfield not being rushed as much:

“Listen, the game of football, you can make it as complicated as you want, but I like to simplify things. It is about running the ball, stopping the run and taking the ball away more than they get it from you. That is what it is with me. That is not real fancy, but that is the way games are won and lost.”

On Mayfield doing a better job trusting the Browns OL last week:

“I did not say that he trusted them more. Those guys did a good job up front of allowing him to feel more comfortable, if that answers your question. I think that they did a good job.”

On Mayfield not going into games stating he needs to stay in the pocket longer but rather stays in the pocket longer when he has opportunities:

“I think we go into the game every week wanting him to get comfortable inside the pocket. That is where it is most safe.”

On finding opportunities to get WR Odell Beckham Jr. the ball earlier in the game, given Beckham seemed somewhat frustrated late in Sunday’s game:

“I do not know about insinuations and all that. I know that Odell Beckham is a good player. We want him to get the ball. I did not sense the frustration. I sensed him looking at the scoreboard and realizing that we needed to keep going, and you never know when you are playing those positions when you are going to get the ball. I do not know. I do not think he got frustrated from that. I think Odell Beckham likes to win football games. I did not sense that he was frustrated from that.”

On if it has been difficult to try and get Beckham the ball early due to double teams:

“Here is what I think is difficult: for Odell not to be able to run a route without getting grabbed. I think that is what frustrates him. We are working on him just staying to course, and he does a good job of staying of course. I will just say that.”

On if Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey was more physical than other CBs with Beckham:

“Yeah, I do not really want to comment anymore on that game.”

On if Beckham can expect CBs to be more physical with him throughout the season:

“Odell is a physical guy, too. I am not scared of a corner being physical with Odell. That is not what I am scared of. I do not want people grabbing him down the field, though.”

On if defensive schemes focused on Beckham factored into the big performances by Landry and Chubb:

“You like to throw versus one-on-one coverage, whenever we have a guy that can win versus one-on-one coverage, if he is not getting grabbed. Of course, that has a lot to do with it. We look for one-on-one matchups. That is what we like to get. If people play zone, you try to find windows. That is just kind of the passing game right there in a nutshell, a simplistic version of it. Of course, it has everything to do with it, but those guys have to do a good job. It does no good if you do that and those guys can’t go and win and be successful. Then they have accomplished exactly what they wanted to accomplish. It is just kind of basic math.”

On LB Joe Schobert’s season:

“Joe has played fantastic up to this point in the year, but I also want more out of Joe. I want him to keep going, and I think he wants more out of himself. All of our guys, the guys that have played good, I want more from them just like I want more from the guys that have not played so good. That is the environment that we are in with our team is everybody wants to be better every day. Everybody wants to just get a little bit better every day. You are not going to make leaps and bounds. Just get better every day and then we will see where we are at the end of this week and we will see where we are at the end of next week. Then it kind of continues to grow.”

On if it was disappointing that LB Christian Kirksey needed surgery and is expected to miss the rest of the season:

“Kirko is a major part of our team, not just our defense. He is an emotional guy, a ‘bring your lunch pail to work’ guy every day. It is always tough when you lose guys like that. I think he made the best decision for him and his career. I hate anytime someone has to have surgery, but that is going to get him back to us faster.”

On if he wants Kirksey to continue to be in the facility and working with the team while he recovers:

“No doubt, yes.”

On WR Odell Beckham, Jr.’s ability to throw the ball, particularly given the distance Beckham had on the attempt Sunday despite being off balance:

“I worked with him a lot last week on exactly that and the way I drew that up, like I said the other day, was for him to make this guy miss, this guy miss and then split the next two and that limits that math again that I was talking about, that limits the people down the field and now it is one on one (laughter). Yes, he is a special guy from that physical standpoint.”

On if he had more confidence in Beckham’s ability to throw or Landry’s ability to pitch on the option:

“I have total confidence in all of our guys when I put them out there. When we draw up plays like that, I have total confidence. Now, you are assuming it was an option, too (laughter).”

On the biggest challenge with a more unorthodox schedule to start the season with different times and days:

“They did not make it easy on a first-year head coach, I know that. You are all supposed to laugh at that (laughter). Here is what you would like to do – we have done a good job of that – is just getting these guys into a routine. Everyone likes a routine. Everyone likes getting up in the morning, grabbing your coffee and driving to work or whatever you do. Everyone likes to do the same thing every day. If anything changes, you adjust to it, of course. That is why today is Wednesday for us. We maintain the same schedule every week. We get to the hotel the same time every week. Our travel is not dictated by the time we leave. It is dictated by the time we get to the schedule because I want everything being constant for those guys in a consistent manner.”

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