Freddie Kitchens didn’t mince words when he discussed the Browns' offensive performance in their 13-12 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday.
“It wasn't good all the way around,” Kitchens said. “I promised you it'll get corrected. We had people all around the quarterback, too. It wasn't just one position or one anything, the execution wasn't there, and that's the whole group.”
In his first action since a single drive in the first preseason game, quarterback Baker Mayfield went 10-for-26 with 72 yards and an interception. The Browns struggled to move the ball no matter who was on the field, though, and Kitchens hopes his team uses the film from the loss to clean up the most pressing offensive issues.
On Friday, receivers weren’t in the right spots at the right time, and it threw off the timing of the offense. That was the most glaring mistake from Kitchens’ perspective.
“(We were) just not running routes the way we're supposed to do,” Kitchens said. “If we're on rhythm in routes, they have to be in rhythm and at the proper depth. Our protection was a little off. We run down the edge of people, not down the middle of them. It's just a recipe for disaster all the way around.”
Kitchens, however, didn’t forget that it’s preseason. Mistakes will be made, and the Browns will have two weeks and another preseason game to correct them before things count.
“There's a lot of good opportunities for these guys to learn from, and I don't want to lose sight of that,” Kitchens said. “I know we've left the hotel and have broken camp, but we should still be in the mode of getting better, and this is an opportunity for us to do that."
— Kitchens opted to use Austin Seibert on all Browns kicks Friday, and that was by design. Kitchens said he wants Seibert and Greg Joseph to have a full game’s worth of action as a primary kicker rather than alternating kickers. The plan appeared to work for Seibert, who went 4-for-4 and nailed a 54-yard field goal in the first quarter.
“Just because he made four kicks doesn’t mean the competition is over,” Kitchens said. “These guys are still competing.”
— Eric Kush took all first-team snaps at right guard Friday, and Kitchens confirmed that Kush will likely be the starting right guard when the Browns open their regular season in 15 days.
“There’s always competition,” Kitchens said. “I thought he did some things nice yesterday, but he’s got to continue to get better. He’s not a finished product by any stretch of the imagination. Eric will get the first shot of seeing what he can do, and so far, he’s been doing very well. Not good enough yet, but he’ll continue to get better to get there.”
— Kitchens said that he’ll evaluate the loss — his first preseason loss as a head coach — the same way he’ll evaluate any game. He doesn’t think that a preseason loss has any silver-lining if players don’t respond and improve from mistakes.
"I don't coach off results. I coach off the individual performance and the individual play and technique. If you start coaching off just results, then sometimes that gets foggy from a standpoint of what you're really supposed to be doing.”