Freddie Kitchens After Practice Press Conference Transcript August 1, 2019

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Head Coach Freddie Kitchens

On if there is a method to his tedious coaching and practice regimens, including the running game periods:

“I definitely think there is a method. We are not just out there for our health per se. We are trying to get better and get something accomplished. You are trying to develop a mentally and physically strong, tough-minded, hardened, battle-tested football team before you get to the games that actually count.”

On if that is the significance of his practicing methods, including the running game periods:

“Yes, I believe so.”

On expectations for TE Pharaoh Brown when getting first-team reps:

“Constant improvement on an everyday basis. We do not ask too much of our guys. We just ask them to make the plays that are there to be made, and if they are not in position to be made, put it on me. We just want the plays to be made that are there, and I want him to control the line of scrimmage when he is asked to do so.”

On if Brown needs to be more consistent catching the ball:

“I think if you ask everybody, we need to be consistent catching the ball, and that is what we are looking for. Consistency across the board.”

On his coaching methods and the run game periods, referring back to previous question:

“I do not know any other way to do it. I really do not. I know football is a game about being physical and being tough minded, and that is the only way I know going about doing it.”

On if he is concerned about getting RB Kareem Hunt reps, given he has not yet practiced and can’t play in the first eight games:

“No, I am not. No, I am not. He will be back. He is getting close. We also do not want to do anything to injure him further. No, I am not concerned at all. He knows what he is doing from a knowledge standpoint. He was here all spring. He knows what to do from a knowledge standpoint. It is just actually getting him the work now.”

On if he has any more clarity on who will win the K competition:

“No, I have not. Hopefully, those guys continue to compete. Competing is on them, and then I will continue to do my job and (special teams coordinator Mike) Priefer will continue to do his job and put them in situations where they can demonstrate how much better they have gotten.”

On if he is concerned with inconsistency by the Browns Ks:

“I would like to see the kicks go through the uprights, and I would like that done consistently. I am pretty sure if you asked them that they would like the same thing. Now, we just need to get to the point where we are doing it. The only thing I know is to continue to put them in those situations, and hopefully, they get more and more comfortable doing it because the situations will not change. They are always going to be in there. Every time they are kicking, they are going to have a situation where they have to put it through the uprights. That situation is not going to change because it is not going to change through the course of the year.”

On the format for the Orange & Brown Scrimmage:

“Yes, we do have a format. It is going to be a lot more moving the ball like you see out here. We are going to the stadium to get some work done, not put on a show.”

On if Saturday’s session will be first-team offense versus first-team defense:

“Yes, always. Always.”

On improving during today’s situational drills:

“Some of it with these guys is it is just a new environment from the standpoint of what they are used to. We have a bunch of guys from other places – I do not know what they do nor do I care and what they did before, nor do I care – so some of it is just a product of having a new environment that what they expect. I am getting what I expected from an effort standpoint, but some of the consistency on how the plays we make and we are not, and those are the situations we want to continue putting them in. Yes, I was happier today mainly because right now in this point in time, I am not worried about the success or nonsuccess of the play; I am worried about the understanding of us being a smart football team. That is what I was very upset with yesterday is we have got to be a smart football team. Games are won and lost because you are not smart enough to recognize the situation, adjust to the situation and make a play accordingly, whatever that play may be.”

On the Browns’ backup QB situation:

“I feel very good about. I feel very good about all four of those guys. All three of the backups are continuing to get better. (QB) David (Blough) had some good throws today, (QB) Garrett (Gilbert) has had a pretty good camp up to this point and I have been with (QB) Drew (Stanton) for a long time. I think he demonstrated that today. He knows how to run the offense successfully.”

On the importance of having a good backup QB:

“I think it is very critical, but just as much as that, I think it is good to have quarterback room that is very supportive because those guys do a lot of work during the course of the week that maybe the starting quarterback can’t get to or can’t do. In Arizona, we had a quarterback room that was excellent. I was in the quarterback room, it was (former NFL QB) Carson (Palmer) our starter, and we had Drew and Ryan Lindley was one of those guys at one point in time and then we let him go and brought another guy in. You try to just train those guys to do whatever they can do to support the starting quarterback. They collectively in that room have that one goal in mind, and everyone takes ownership of the starting quarterback.”

On QB Baker Mayfield having strong relationships with his fellow QBs on the roster, including Gilbert who he knows from high school:

“I think it is a very unique. They argue all the time about who was the highest rated quarterback coming out of high school and stuff like that. Baker always pulls the trump card on him toward the end. They have a good relationship and it is good to see. At the core of everything that we are doing here, I think you guys know how I feel about the players. I do not know how the players feel about me, but I have a pretty good idea how they feel about me. I want them to feel that way about each other because if we can grow that, they are more likely to fight and go to war with each other in the sense on a Sunday and will lay it out there and be accountable to each other. That is how you win football games in this business.”

On if he had to challenge WR Antonio Callaway to get back into shape:

“I think everyone has been challenged up to this point, but Antonio knows what is expected out of him and his best day was today. He seemed like he needed a little pushing, but he also knew what was expected out of him. He came back, he has worked his tail off for the last week and I think it is showing by him getting in better shape.”

On if DE Chad Thomas’ illness will keep him out of practice for a while:

“We do not think so. He just does not feel good right now. I do not want to elaborate because last time I checked, we do not really know what it is. We do not think it is anything serious or anything like that. It is just a stomach bug or something. Then you get into issue with dehydration and stuff like that. We are very cautious with that.”

On if talking with LB Sione Takitaki after a specific running period play was due to effort or not finishing:

“We need to wrap up. We need to wrap up. Whether we are taking them to the ground or not, it does not matter. The point of contact and arms need to be around them. Working on the technique of tackling needs to be shown every time. That is not a sometime thing. Tackling and taking to the ground, that will happen if you do everything else leading up to that point to get them on the ground. You just do not take them to the ground. I just did not like it. That is my prerogative. I want form. I want technique. (Defensive coordinator) Steve (Wilks) and them are working their tails off trying to get that. When I do not see it, it is getting corrected. I try not to let anything slide, at all.”

On the aggression and getting better at tackling:

“Exactly, I do like the aggression. You can’t teach aggression. You can teach tackling. That is where we sit with them. We are teaching them how to tackle, but I want him [Sione Takitaki] to bring his feet, bring his hands and bring his arms. That is how we tackle. We do not try to knock everybody out. We are going to play some pretty big guys. You are not going to be able to knock everyone out so you better know how to tackle. Unless we get that, I am not going to be happy. We are not going to let anything slide.”

On if the Browns are seriously considering WR Jarvis Landry on punt returns:

“Everybody is on the ready right now. You always have to factor in the offense, defense and special teams in every decision you make. We are going to try to put our best 11 offenses, best 11 defense and best 11 special teams guys out there every time. The short answer to your question is yes.”

CJ DeJohn, a nine-year old Browns fan who connected with Browns Give Back through A Special Wish and Cleveland.com, was among credentialed media as a special Jr. Reporter during today’s training camp session. DeJohn took notes on today’s practice and concluded his workday meeting and conducting interviews with General Manager John Dorsey, Head Coach Freddie Kitchens, QB Baker Mayfield, DT Larry Ogunjobi, DT Sheldon Richardson, G Joel Bitonio, LB Christian Kirksey and CB T.J. Carrie. Launched in 2013, A Special Wish Cleveland Chapter is a local award-winning, wish-granting foundation that fulfills wishes for Cleveland-based children (up to 20 years old) who face life-threatening diseases.

CJ DeJohn asked the last question of Kitchens’ media session, which resulted in the exchange below

DeJohn: How do you keep your team so well organized?

“CJ, there is a lot of planning that goes into that. That is why you have a good staff so you can tell them exactly what you want and then they have the same vision that you have, and then we go out and do it. We have a practice schedule that everybody stays on course with during the course of the day, and they are marked off by 10-minute periods, five-minute periods and 15-minute periods. That loud horn that you hear blow out there, that switches to the next one. Going lateral on the sheet of paper, it has where to place the ball, what period it is whether it is a running period, a passing period or whatever; and then we have another sheet of paper that tells you the plays that you are going to run within that period.

“No more? Can I ask you one? What high school do you go to?”

[laughter]

DeJohn: North Ridgeville Academic Center

“Very nice. What grade?”

DeJohn: I am going into fourth.

“Fourth grade. I would have sworn you were like in 10th grade. Girlfriend? No girlfriend?”

DeJohn: No.

“A dog? What’s your dog’s name?”

DeJohn: Mickey.

“How old is Mickey?”

DeJohn: He is 80 in dog years.

“80 in dog years? Wow. What does that make him? Like seven probably?”

DeJohn:No, 11.

“What kind of dog is it?”

DeJohn: A black lab shepherd.

“Very nice. Does he catch a ball? Will he fetch? Can you throw it for him? Can you throw it far?”

DeJohn: Yeah.

“Are you ready to go back to school or are you enjoying summer?”

DeJohn: Both.

“Both? You enjoyed summer? I appreciate you coming today. You are welcome anytime. It is nice to have you here, CJ.”

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