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Press Conference

Freddie Kitchens talks roster competition, Seth DeValve's status and more - Press Conference

On the depth of the Browns WRs resulting in the release of WR Jaelen Strong, given Strong made some plays during training camp:

"I do not know about that. I think everybody in that room is just like every other place and has to perform a little better. I was not being facetious when I said that no position on the field played well the other night. That [position] was one of them."

On if competition at WR will be one of the team's primary focuses on Thursday:

"They are definitely going to get work to see if they can perform better than what they did last week. Jaelen had a good camp. It was just a decision we decided to make." 

On WR Braxton Miller's transition to the Browns:

"I think he is picking up the offense. That tells you a little bit about his learning ability. We will see if we can put him in some positions to make some plays Thursday night. He is doing well, though."

On Miller will get reps as a returner:

"We do not know that yet. We have talked about it. We have not decided. We have some other guys we want to see back there, too. It would have more to do to that than not letting him catch them."

On if WR Damion Ratley will play on Thursday:

"Ratley should play, yes."

On if the Browns could use more speed at WR, specifically in reference to Miller's speed:

"Yeah, we are always looking to upgrade in any area, whether it be ball skills, speed or any kind of quality that a receiver may have. Just like we are always looking to upgrade an offensive line, defensive line, every place. I do not think it is a necessity, no."

On difficulty for the Browns to evaluate TE Seth DeValve and DeValve fighting for a roster spot after missing weeks of training camp due to a concussion:

"Three of the most important abilities – you guys have heard this – are accountability, reliability and dependability; throw availability in there. It is hard, but he is right. He is fighting for a spot, and we will see what happens."

On if the Browns have been informed if WR Antonio Callaway and RB Kareem Hunt will be able to remain with the team in some capacity during their suspensions:

"That has not made public yet so all that has to go through the league office. We are not privy to answering questions for them."

On why it would be beneficial for Callaway and Hunt to be in the facility:

"If we were in fact able to do it, it would be because one of the good reasons will be because Antonio is recovering from an ankle injury. To make sure that he gets the proper medical care and stuff like that and the treatment, that would benefit the person as much as anything."

On where QB Baker Mayfield's game is now compared to the end of last season:

"Baker is substantially better at reading coverages, deciphering blitzes, fixing the protections and recognizing the blitzes. I think he is better in a lot of areas."

On confidence in Mayfield after not playing well Friday and performing well during the preseason's opening drive:

"I have total confidence he is going to be OK."

On how much QB presence and movement in the pocket can be coached versus it being an innate ability:

"That part of it can be taught, where you stress that because that is an important part of moving in the pocket. It does not always have to be escape. What he does very well and you can't really teach is the escape-ability, getting outside the pocket and doing something with it then. I do not think you can teach that part of it once you are outside of the pocket."

On if Hunt needs to play in one more game since he will be suspended to begin the season:

"Yeah, I am not sure about that."

On if RB's D'Ernest Johnson and Dontrell Hilliard have similar or different skillsets:

"I think they have very similar skillsets, and they are battling. Just because camp is broken does not mean that these battles have ceased. They are going to battle and they are going to battle all the way to the end. Do they have the same type of skillsets? Yes."

On if CB Greedy Williams has plateaued, given CB Terrance Mitchell appears to be getting more reps with the ones:

"I hope not. We are not planning on him plateauing anytime soon. Hopefully, he has his head down and he is trying to get better. Sometimes guys in the media and people like that – not to be funny – you only judge what you see as far as playing the ball, and I think that Greedy is getting better."

On if starters could play the entirety of the final preseason game against the Lions:

"You are trying a different approach with the question. I commend you for that, but we have not decided that yet. You will not see Baker. What would you do if I trotted Baker out there? I have a feeling you guys are going to find something to write anyways (laughter)."

On Hilliard will play against the Lions:

"Yeah, he is going to play."

On confidence RB Nick Chubb will improve this year, given Chubb has not played much this preseason:

"Just the way he practices, the way he finished last year and the way he continually got better throughout the year and the way he started out camp and started out the spring. He gets better every time he walks onto the field."

On if DeValve's role has evolved into more of a FB:

"It is one of those things where the more you can do, the better your chances are. I think he has recognized that, and he has worked on that aspect of his game. We will see."

On initial indications DeValve could be useful at FB:

"Somebody has to [play fullback]. He has the body type, he has the athletic ability to get through the hole and sometimes when guys are 6-5, 6-6, they struggle to get down low enough to get their pads up under somebody else. That is probably a very simple answer. It is just he looks more like the part."

On if the Browns prefer to have a TE that can take on FB responsibilities:

"Yeah, we are going to have a tight end that can do that. He is not the only one who has done that, too. When you are trying to get the other guys work in at the tight end spot, somebody has to do the other parts of it."

On if it is harder to evaluate WR Braxton Miller due to his limited time with the Browns:

"Of course, you would always like to have the most room for evaluation, but just like other players we have had, they come here, they are being evaluated once they get here and that is all we are going off of."

On if he has the time to watch film of all new Browns acquisitions:

"You know that answer, right? I watch everything that is on that practice field. It does not take that long. I watch everything on the field and I watch everything in here because you can miss things."

On if Miller still has the special running ability he had at Ohio State:

"He seems like it. He almost pulled through one the other night on a shallow that we wanted we wanted to get the ball in his hands a couple of times. He seems like it. I am looking forward to seeing him play Thursday. I am looking forward to seeing a bunch of these guys play Thursday. The funny thing about competition is you are either exposed or you get exposure. Competition brings that to the forefront. When you start talking about a preseason game, that is the ultimate competition. That is what you have to go off of is how a guy is going to take it from the practice field to the game. I am looking forward to seeing how these guys respond."

On WR Dorian Baker's absence from practice:


On if he would like to have more than one joint practice session, even if it would be at the expense of a preseason game:

"We actually discussed that this year of potentially doing [a second joint practice session]. There are some teams in this league that do that. Going into their first preseason game they will practice against someone and then practice someone else the next week."

On the potential benefits of having multiple joint practices where most players participate over preseason games where some players may not play:

"It is a lot like the fan day we had, the [Orange & Brown Scrimmage] we had. It was a scrimmage, but it was a practice, and if you are talking about that type of setting, I do not know if that has ever been discussed but it is probably not a bad idea to investigate or to research because I know any time you can control the environment, you are better off. That is what I feel we did a good job of in Indianapolis, and I like those situations. In saying that, your schedule has to be friendly to that as far as back-to-back games and stuff like that. Depending on where it is and stuff, that is definitely a possibility. It is definitely a possibility to even add another joint session the way we did in Indianapolis. We actually talked about that this year and decided not to for some other reasons."

On the difficulty releasing players this time of year, given the time spent together and commitment to work:

"It is very difficult. It is one of the hardest things you do as a coach. I know as a position coach it was the hardest thing I had to do because these guys are invested in making the team. They are invested in you as a person if you get them the way you want them to be because you are asking them to do tough things and hard things and they are buying into it. It is definitely hard. It is very hard. It is one of the hardest parts about our business."

On if he ever notified a player of their release as a position coach:

"Yes, yes I have."

On who will notify Browns players of their release later this week:

"They will hear from me and (General Manager) John (Dorsey). They will hear from the top two. Their position coaches will talk to them, as well, but I will not hide in a room if that is what you are asking."

On the time commitment to speak with the number of players released this weekend:

"Oh, I understand. It is a commitment. Believe me, it is a commitment, especially when you go from 90 to 53. They have committed to us for a while. Some of them have been going on four months. I think we can fit it in to commit to them."

On if the Browns will begin the roster cut-down process on Friday:

"I am not sure. That is John's call there."

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