Freddie Kitchens Training Camp Press Conference Transcript 7-25-19

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

Opening statement: 

“I thought we got some things accomplished today, but it was truly the first day and you could probably tell that.”

On the Browns defense today:

“I thought the defense was just like the offense – they were hit and miss. We jumped offside a few times. We are not going to allow that to happen. It was the first day.”

On if practice went longer than expected:

“Not in my expectations, no. We are going to go until we get it right so however long that is. That is the beauty between fall camp and those league-mandated things in the spring. We can go until we get it right.”

On WR Odell Beckham Jr.:

“He looked good at times, but he has a long way to go, too. This is the first day for everybody. It was exciting to have him out there. What we are getting right now is just the foundation and laying the foundation for everything we are going to do, and that group of receivers is the same way.”

On how tough it is to hold back excitement and stay even keeled when a big play happens, including some of Beckham’s challenging catches:

“I do not stay even keeled. I get excited when I see plays like that, but I get excited from everybody when I see plays and them doing what they are supposed to do. It is a bunch of little things right now. It is just continuing to grow and this is just the starting point and everybody understands that and knows that.”

On Beckham saying he felt the love from Browns fans today:

“I feel like he should feel the love from the fans because they showed it to him. The thing that separates Cleveland from a lot of places is the passion that they bring to it to the game, to the practice, on social media and all that kind of stuff. The passion in the Cleveland area for the Browns or all Browns fans is very unique. I think that was demonstrated today and probably will be demonstrated the rest of training camp. Hopefully, we can carry that momentum over into the real season.”

On his message to the players toward the end of practice:

“That is between us.”

On if he will huddle the team at some point during practice every day:

“No, just when it is necessary.”

On if he was part of the decision to have 15 free open practices for Browns fans:

“This is my personal opinion… To answer your question, yes. I was asked what practices we wanted to be open. To me, we want as many as possible to be open because that is what our fans deserve. It is expensive to go to a football game. Now, I know we are not like a lot of teams, but it is expensive to go to a football game. There are a lot of fans out there that can’t afford to go to a game. In saying that, they are still a part of this organization and what we are trying to do, also. Anytime we can give back to our fans, we would like to do it.”

On goals with Beckham competing against CB Denzel Ward:

“For both of them to compete and both of them to get better, and I think that is a pretty good battle. Denzel won a few today, and Odell won a few today. I am looking forward to seeing that battle. That is what training camp is all about – seeing the guys compete, seeing who is going to wilt under pressure and who is going to wilt under just competitiveness of every day, day in or day out. We want guys to be the same person day in or day out. I do not want a roller coaster. I want the same guy every day so I know what I am going to get.”

On defensive looks doubling Beckham and leading to other open targets on offense:

“I think that is the grand scheme of things. We just have to get everybody on the same page of doing the right things, and that is what we are here to work with.”

On how QB Baker Mayfield has matured as a leader:

“It is always a constant evolving of a quarterback to continue to lead. It is his second year in the league. He knows what to expect now. Some of that is just out of knowing what to expect.”

On if he has met with former Packers DT Mike Daniels yet, who was reported to visit the Browns:

“Yeah, I have sat down with him.”

On what kind of addition Daniels could be to the Browns if he signs:

“We like good football players and he would not be here unless we thought he was a good football player. Anytime you can add good football players and create competition… Those other guys are not going away either. I said this in the spring, I think the defensive line is going to be the strength of our team. Anytime we are adding better players or good players or anything, create more competition to get those guys better that are actually here too.”

On CB Greedy Williams practicing with the second team:

“We make a decision going into training camp of how we are going to start. You can’t play but 11 at a time, and that is who ended up out there first. There are a lot of positions that people may have penciled in, but we are competing for these jobs. Hell, (CB Terrance) Mitchell is not going anywhere. He is going to be here and he is going to compete. (CB) T.J. Carrie is going to be here. They are going to compete. Greedy is not going to just get handed the job. After everything is said and done, they all had about the same reps today. We go in, judge it and see how they did. As long as you are here at the Cleveland Browns, you are always going to be evaluated in everything that you do – the way you walk into the lunchroom, the way you approach the media, how you practice and how you prepare in meetings, if you want to be on your phone during meetings rather than taking notes during meetings. You are always being evaluated. Every time we walk off the field, these guys are getting evaluated. Our coaches are getting evaluated. The game of football is about making good evaluations, and we are going to try to do that and we try to do that with the most information that we have.”

On if G Austin Corbett will remain with the first team at RG or if others will rotate as occurred during veteran minicamp:

“I think we are going to continue to rotate guys to see who wants the job.”

On the Browns defense not having three LBs on the field much in practice today, particularly compared to veteran minicamp:

“It was a script for our personnel at the time. We just match personnel in this league, and if we have four receivers on the field, they put four DBs on the field.”

On his standards for a good practice:

“The effort today was great. We should never had a question of effort. In the National Football League, you can’t practice but one day a week with pads on when you get into the season. That tells me you have to learn how to practice without pads on because you still have to get better on the days you are practicing without the pads on. We have to learn how to practice and we have to learn how to take care of each other. By no means does that have to do anything with being physical, but we have to understand how to take care of each other and not get each other injured for doing things we should not be doing. That is what I would like to see. Our effort is going to be there. Our attention to detail needs to be better in all areas, but this is the first day of practice.”

On allowing Beckham to be himself and if he sensed that seemed important to Beckham early in their relationship, given some organizations have different disciplines and are structured in other ways:

“Don’t confuse be yourself with not having a sense of being disciplined. I am not into conforming to anything, I have never conformed to anything. We have one rule, and that is to do what is right. If you just live by that, pretty much you will be OK. For me personally, this is just my opinion, I think he is a good dude. Whatever he does or how he wants to be himself, that is him. I do not want him to change that. I do not want Baker to change who he is. I do not want Myles to change who he is. I just want them to be themselves because I think you get the best out of people when you are allowed to do that.”

On if it was cool or different to start training camp as a head coach for the first time:

“Yes because I had the authority to talk to the defense and the offense without pissing anyone off (laughter). Other than that, I just try to coach ball. I just try to coach those guys. At the end of the day, no because I am just trying to coach.”

On when RB Kareem Hunt will be able to practice:

“It should be a couple of days.”

On if he woke up early this morning anticipating the start of training camp:

“No, actually. I had to take my daughters and drop them off. They were riding with a friend to a horse show. I had to do that and was not here as early as I normally am.”

On how important it is for the QB to set the tone for a team and Mayfield’s progress heading into his second year:

“Not just the quarterback position but every position, we talk about holding each other accountable. I think he is doing his role in holding guys accountable that he is associated with from the standpoint of who impacts his game and who impacts the offense. We can do a good job of holding each other accountable offensively and defensively, and that is part of learning how to practice. We have to hold them accountable to how we practice here at the Cleveland Browns.”

On his philosophy coaching a team with high expectations:

“I am going to coach them like I coached them at Glenville State College. It does not matter to me. I truly believe it is just hype. That is all it is. The people in the building and in the locker room are going to determine whether we have a successful season or a not successful season. It is not going to be because of anything outside of that, and that is the way I would approach it anywhere I have been. That is the way I have approached any positions I have coached or calling plays last year. It did not matter. Nothing anyone said mattered. Hopefully, we are buying into that mantra. I think we are, and we will see. I just want them to not be afraid to be their best. Whatever that best is, we are going to see where we will end up. I do not know where we will end up, I can’t tell you we are good enough to do anything, but I want them to be there best, let us find out and not let anyone else have an impact on that.”

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