Reading Between the Lines of the Post-game Comments Made by Freddie Kitchens and Baker Mayfield

There are no problems brewing in Cleveland ... yet. But if things take a turn down the road, let’s remember this moment.
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Baker Mayfield

This is not suggesting there are some percolating issues in Cleveland. But if it just so happens that further down the road some problems pop up, these comments will certainly seem interesting in hindsight.

The Browns are now 2-5, another fly on the windshield of the Bill Belichick express. The best coach in NFL history is now also the third winningest, notching No. 300 in a 27-13 win over Cleveland (he got the game ball).

The atmosphere on the Browns’ side was a little bit different after the game. Here’s head coach Freddie Kitchens’s opening statement in the post-game press conference:

“Everything we said we couldn’t do and still win the game…we did. And it all happened in the first quarter. I was proud of the way they kept fighting, somewhat got back into the game there at the end but just couldn’t get back fully into it. Can’t turn the ball over and can’t commit penalties. That’s where the game comes in. We ran the ball well. We did exactly what we wanted to do in the run game. That was the game plan. We did it. We held them, stopped them from running. I thought our defense played well enough to win. Offensively, we can’t turn the ball over…and that was the game.”

He added later: “It’s very evident, that’s what’s getting us beat. Turnovers and penalties. Turnovers and penalties.”

Baker Mayfield was asked about the team’s issues and had this:

“Non-discipline. Guys not being focused on their job. Starts first and foremost with me. I have to be a leader every single down. Make sure we’re set, make sure we’re paying attention, because if we can’t use cadence, we’re hurting ourselves.”

Both Kitchens and Mayfield stood behind RB Nick Chubb, who lost a pair of fumbles on the night (Mayfield’s shovel pass pick was the third turnover on the night). And while both arrived at the same conclusion for the loss (turnovers), it was interesting the avenue they took to get there. Kitchens mentioned that the game plan was working. Mayfield twice mentioned things like: “the consistency, the lack of discipline and the accountability on Sundays right now seems to be a problem.” Aren’t those both areas where the other one comes into play?

Again, no one is going full Flacco here, and we're not suggesting as much. Mayfield said no one is pointing fingers and seemed to bail out Kitchens by adding that: “I can’t have eyes on everyone every play and neither can the coaches.” But that, too, is interesting in itself. A few more losses may reveal whether there is some subtext beyond these words.

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