Freddie Kitchens Sits Down for Q&A with the Cleveland Media

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

Opening statement:

“I thought it was a good first day so I will take any questions.”

On what the Browns can accomplish during rookie minicamp:

“Really, we are trying to see what kind of ability from a skillset point of view they have and really knowledge. This is not a physical camp so you are trying to get knowledge and see what they can maintain from the meeting room to the practice room.”

On CB Greedy Williams:

“He is smooth. He transitions well from a back paddle and can close on the ball. He is long, of course, and then he competes.”

On RB Darrin Hall:

“He demonstrated some ability to stick his foot into the ground and get north quickly. His hands, he had a couple of dropped balls today that I think is very uncharacteristic for him, but he is working to get better. Sometimes you have to evaluate these guys – mentally, they are swimming a little bit and how that effects their skillset. He is probably in that mix right now. He will probably do a lot studying tonight.”

On Williams’ comments about the Browns going to the Super Bowl in his draft conference call:

“I like the confidence and I like the excitement and the passion that he has, but I think that kind of changed today probably, right? Did he talk to you any today? We are not in the prediction business like I told you guys.”

On his message to Williams:

“That is between him and I, but I don’t know how many predictions he will be making. Greedy is a good kid, though. He is a really good kid. He was just full of excitement. I like excitement and I like the enthusiasm, and he has a lot of both.”

On CB Jhavonte Dean making plays today:

“It is better to make a play than to not make a play. That is really the only thing that I can say about it right now. He showed up. It was good to see. He made a couple plays on the ball that he didn’t end up with the ball but he still made the play on the ball. He was a factor. Anytime you are a factor, you kind of stand out. That is a good thing during this time of the year.”

On determining where LB Sione Takitaki will play:

“I think it will work itself out. Once we get back with everybody here and see how the puzzle fits together, it will work itself out. We are just trying to compete and everybody get better right now in all areas.”

On Takitaki standing out due to his physical nature:

“I think that is the dilemma you have with offensive lineman and defensive lineman – they can’t stand out right now. You are really judging the same things with them that you see on tape and you try to make good decisions based on that. That is the worst thing about the offseason and the offseason program in general. It is not made to be physical; it is made for skill guys to kind of have the advantage, but you can see the aggressiveness in how they get to the ball. He did that today fairly well.”

On if there is a challenge in coaching Williams to tackle:

“I wasn’t joking. He is going to have to tackle some. When the ball gets out on the edge, we are not going to let him go. I don’t have a problem. Greedy is going to tackle. He wants to tackle. He is a willing tackler. That maybe have not all been on tape as an example, but peer pressure gets through them sometimes. It gets through our players, and if we have the leaders that I think we have, then he will tackle.”

On how much the Browns can learn about the team prior to training camp:

“Every segment, you are not really starting over but you are seeing how much you can retain. We are not going to find anything out about our team until we hit some adversity. Once we hit some adversity – which it’s going to happen – you try to create it during training camp and I don’t know how much you can relative to how the season unfolds, but we are going to hit some adversity at some point and then we will find out what kind of team we have and not until then.”

On Pro Football Hall of Fame WR Webster Slaughter and Browns Alumni speaking to the team during last night’s dinner:

“We had a lot of those guys around. We had Webster, Bernie (Kosar), Mr. (Jim) Brown – a lot of those guys were here – Earnest Byner, (Kevin) Mack all those guys were here last night, and they had dinner with our rookies. (General Manager) John (Dorsey) and I wanted them to see what it was to be a Cleveland Browns and what it meant to the city and take it from experience that somebody had already had. I think it went really well.”

On if he finds Brown captivating when speaking to a group, particularly at 83-years old:

“I cherish my time that I have around him and that I have had around him for the past year – and that is 83, he’ll tell you that, too – but I cherish that time around him because you know what he went through in life and in the game of football. Of course, what he means to the City of Cleveland and the Cleveland Browns organization speaks for itself. He has seen a lot in his time. If you think about 83 years, that covers a lot of history in the country good and bad. It is just good to have a resource like that to lean on, talk to and just to be around and know what he has went there.”

On sharing the Browns history with the rookies, who may not have known what predates the past few seasons for the organization:

“Definitely with the rookies. We even did it with the veterans. Our first team meeting, we showed them a video of what the Browns meant to the city and what the Browns mean to the NFL in general and some of the good times that Cleveland has had in the past. When you talk about three AFC Championships in the 80s, just knowing what those guys went through to get there, hopefully, our guys can feed off of that some. I know it doesn’t hurt to be able to communicate with those guys to show them what could happen and the potential of happening.”

Included below are select quotes from interviews with the following Browns players during today’s media availability:

·T Drew Forbes

·CB Donnie Lewis

·S Sheldrick Redwine

·K Austin Seibert

·LB Sione Takitaki

·CB Greedy Williams

·LB Mack Wilson

T Drew Forbes:

On MMQB/SI.com’s Prospect X story:

“I think it was pretty cool as far as how it kind of showcased what my wife and I had to go through together to get to where we’re at right now. It was a team effort. Coming from limited resources in colleges that I had. She really helped maximized where we can go and do in that small town that we lived in.”

On if he was heavily recruited in high school:

“Not really, no. I had eight offers for FCS schools, no FBS offers.”

On if other teams informed him they were interested in him playing T:

“There were few that had spoken of it. I don’t know how serious they were about it, but the fact that I was out here today working that position, I love that. I am willing to play anywhere they want me to. I’m just happy to be here.”

On if he was worried the quality of FCS competition may have been held against him by NFL teams:

“I wasn’t worried about that too terribly much. All I can worry about is what I can control. I just wanted to go out on Pro Day and do the best I could there, hit these meetings and just let them know who I am.”

On adjusting to the NFL from FCS:

“I think for everybody in college it is going to be a much higher tempo, whether it is from FCS or FBS schools. It may be a bigger adjustment for some, but I look forward to the challenge.”

On his playing style of finishing through the whistle:

“As soon as that whistles blows, I try to lay off. We were coached as a team early to just play with that mentality, and I tried to really embody that at Southeast Missouri State. I think they liked that here, too – I know they do. The group of guys they just bought in, I think have some of those same qualities.”

CB Donnie Lewis:

On the past week:

“I have been anxious to get out here, anxious when I first got my [draft] call. I can’t describe how I felt – a lot of joy – and my family being there when I got that call was the biggest blessing I could ask for. I have just been anxious to get out here, getting the playbook, getting around the players and getting to know people out here.”

On if believed he would be drafted:

“I was prepared for the worst, prayed for the best as they would say. My [foot injury] was in January.”

On when he will be able to return to play:

“It’s up to (Head) Coach Freddie (Kitchens) and the trainers and how they are going to play it.”

On if he feels good:

“Yes, sir. I’m out here getting mental reps and in the playbook. This is the time where I’m getting in my playbook so when the time does come I can be ready to jump on it.”

On how much his injury potentially affected his draft process:

“I feel like it affected it a lot. I was rolling high. I saw a lot of projections had me like second day for sure. Just going from that and having no Combine and no Pro Day, it was a blessing to get that call.”

On describing himself as a CB:

“Long guy, man to man, smart corner and physical. I like to mix it all. I played predominately man. Played like mainly man about 98 percent man in college so I definitely can play man, but I’m a real smart guy – I play corner, nickel and safety – so being a zone guy, that helps me out a lot.”

S Sheldrick Redwine:

On his reaction stepping into the Browns facility:

“It feels good to finally be in an NFL facility.”

On his reaction when he learned he was coming to Cleveland:

“Excitement. As soon as I got the call, it was like a big relief in my heart. Just the excitement of feeling my phone vibrate, answering it and hearing Mr. (General Manager John) Dorsey on the other side, it is a feeling you really can’t explain.”

On his expectations with this opportunity:

“Just challenging myself, pushing myself to the heights that I know I can go to. Approaching every day the same, being the same guy every day I wake up, being consistent.”

On who came up with the turnover chain at Miami:

“I think it was Coach (Manny) Diaz and Coach (Ephraim) Banda, and they had help with some alumni with just coming up with a concept, finding something to give us another incentive.”

On how much of a motivator the turnover chain was at Miami:

“It was definitely a motivator. The first year it came out, I think we were like No. 1 in Power Five (Conferences) in turnovers, No. 2 in all of college. Definitely seeing that, he brought it out the first game in our team meeting. Showing everybody what it was going to be and everyone started laughing, just excitement, but it gives you a little extra drive. It is one of those things where you see the ball now, you have to get it. It is always stuck in the back of your head really.”

K Austin Seibert:

On when he heard from QB Baker Mayfield:

“I talked to Baker in person yesterday here. About that, I didn’t want to hit him up on social media because he is getting bombarded with all that stuff anyways.”

On if he paid extra attention to the Browns last year because of Mayfield:

“Yeah, I watched a lot of those games because Baker was player here. As soon as started in that starting role, we would watch him in the locker room and everything like that.”

On if he has kicked many game-winning field goals at Oklahoma, given OU’s success:

“We did beat teams pretty bad sometimes. At the same time, we had kicks in the fourth quarter and games that came down to us wining by one, three or seven points. We had a lot of those games. We also had a lot of games where we dominated the other team.”

On his competitiveness:

“I love to compete. I look at kicking as I’m a football player who kicks, in my head. I think I got a lot of that from Baker just being around him. We were together for three years at Oklahoma. Learning how he carries himself on the field, I want to do that to. I want the teammates to believe in me. I want to earn their respect, and I want to go out there, compete and do my best to win football games.”

LB Sione Takitaki:

On his style of play being described as ‘playing like your hair is on fire’:

“I feel like that is the only way to go out there and play. I feel like I’m a physical player. I can run sideline to sideline. I’m happy to come and be in Cleveland and happy to contribute to this team.”

On how can you contribute to this team and if he can become a starter:

“I feel like right now, [I can contribute] wherever I’m needed. If that is the case, then I’m willing to be a starter. I feel like I got that talent. I’m coming in and trying to find a role. I don’t know what that might be.”

On the source of his energy and physical play:

“I feel like since a little kid I have always played physical. I feel like that is how I was taught the game from my junior All-American coaches to my father to go out there and play as a hammer. It is kind of a thing that has kind of stuck. I go out there and be real aggressive. I know when to be finesse, use finesse moves and things like that.”

On adding balance and control to his game earlier in his career:

“I feel like sometimes I can go out there and play with my head on fire things like that, and sometimes it can definitely hurt us and run away. I feel like once I got that together, I only forced that energy to use in good. I feel like my last year has really helped me upward.”

On being drafted in the third round from BYU, particularly given he was drafted prior to a Alabama LB in Browns LB Mack Wilson:

“Obviously, getting drafted overall is really a great thing. You work so hard. Mack (Wilson), myself, all the guys that got drafted worked so hard to get your name called. To answer, I was excited to get my name called in the third, but that is not the end, I still have to come here. I still have to show them why they were right of drafting me. I still have to put in the work. I can fall over tomorrow and ‘hey, he is a bust.’ Definitely have to come here. I have to get to work and prove them right.”

CB Greedy Williams:

On if he can start as a rookie:

“Right now, I’m just focused on learning the playbook, getting everything and the base defense down and just coming in ready to compete for a spot. My chances are where I take them.”

On his reaction when saying the Browns are going to the Super Bowl:

“That was just excitement that day. I was excited to know what we had. Right now, I’m at work. I’m definitely learning the playbook, coming in ready to work. Hopefully, everybody working towards their goal. That is one of our goals.”

On not taking his comment about the Super Bowl:

“That is what I said. We have to all come in here and work and show that we are one of those teams that got a chance to go to the Super Bowl.”

On if General Manager John Dorsey or Head Coach Freddie Kitchens talked to him about that excitement and his Super Bowl comment:

“They told me just come in, study, work hard and get trust from my teammates. Once I get on that road, everybody will fall in and hopefully, we will be one of those Super Bowl-caliber teams.”

On if it will stick with him that he wasn’t picked in the first round:

“No, I feel like God has a place for everybody. My place wasn’t going in the first round. My place was to be in The Land and come build with a great team, a great coaching staff. I’m just happy to be here. Ready to get to work with the veterans, and hopefully, we are going where we are supposed to go.”

LB Mack Wilson:

On his mindset for his rookie season after going later in the draft than expected:

“Nothing really. I’m just happy to be here. I’m happy to be surrounded by great guys. I feel like the Browns are a great organization. From the past two, three seasons, they have made a tremendous step in how they have been handling things lately. I feel like we will have a great team this year offensively and defensively. What is on my mind is just contributing in any way that I can.”

On his immediate contributions to the Browns:

“Basically just come in and showcase my ability to do multiple things – to play all three linebacker spots. Just to show my view from learning from the veterans guys and take in coaching. My ability is going to show for itself and the things that God blessed me with. I’m just ready to get to work and learn as much as I can from those guys.”

On if coverage is his strong suit:

“I can say that is not my strong suit. It is just part of my game. Some linebackers to this day probably don’t have that play style in them. I feel like my strong suit is just taking on offensive linemen, making tackles, plugging gaps and things like that. When it is time for me to drop or cover guys, that is just natural. It is easy to me. I’m just blessed to have that ability.”

On dropping back typically being harder for LBs:

“I’m different. I just feel like I’m different.”

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