Freddie Kitchens didn’t even wait for the first question to be asked Monday before making his statement clear: Sunday was only one game of 16.
"What we have to refrain from doing right now is overreacting,” Kitchens said in his opening statement. “It is one game in a 16-game schedule. We are very disappointed in the lack of discipline that we showed, the loss of composure that we showed at times and just overall not doing a good enough job from a coaching perspective and a player perspective to get the job done in a positive manner.”
The lack of discipline was centered on the 18 penalties racked up by the Browns for 182 total penalty yards. On one Titans possession alone, the Browns awarded them 45 yards in penalties. With such assistance, Tennessee covered 87 yards en route to its first touchdown of the game.
When the Browns had the ball, their mistakes were just as damaging.
“We had six times yesterday offensively that we were either first- or second-and-20,” Kitchens said. “Six times yesterday, we had penalties on defense and four of those six resulted in them getting a first down. … Those are the kind of things that we identified as problems and are getting rectified.”
As a result of such penalties, the Browns were often forced to attempt throws downfield. Eventually, once they fell behind by two or more scores, those throws became even more desperate, resulting in the final two of three interceptions thrown by Baker Mayfield.
The penalties were just about everything you could imagine: holding, false start, neutral zone infraction, illegal blindside block, illegal double team block on a kickoff, roughing the passer, delay of game and offensive pass interference, among others. Some saw multiples of a foul committed.
Check out the best photos from the Cleveland Browns game against the Tennessee Titans yesterday
While fans in the stands levied complaints toward officials on the field, Kitchens saw it differently.
“A lot of it was losing composure at times,” he said Monday. “[Bad] technique causes you to be in bad positions to commit penalties. We need to continue to work on our technique in the back end of things on defense and upfront. It is about maintaining your composure and being the smarter football team. We understand that problem, and we will work on fixing that problem.”
Sunday is in the past now, though, meaning all the Browns can do now is correct such mistakes and improve with a focus on their next adversary: The New York Jets. That contest, on Monday night in front of a national audience, is the reason why the Browns aren’t panicking and heading for the bunker. They can just as quickly become 1-1 by Tuesday morning.
That starts with a week of preparation that takes on more meaning than your average week. No one wants to lose their first two games of the season, especially not in front of a national audience.
Kitchens is confident that penalties won’t be a significant detriment to the Browns’ efforts like it was in Week 1, echoing what Mayfield said immediately after the loss Sunday.
“Very comfortable, very confident that they will not carry over,” Kitchens said of the penalties. “Here is what makes me say that. The men we have in that locker room, they are going to rally together, and they are going to be accountable to each other. They are accountable to each other. They understand the problems that we created for ourselves yesterday. …We understand what the result of that play would have been if we could have gotten it off so we understand the problem. They will rectify the problem. We have a bunch of guys in there that bought in to what each other means to them. They will do that.”