The Cleveland Browns held their second day of Organized Team Activities on Wednesday, and with it came the opportunity for head coach Freddie Kitchens to meet with the media.
The majority of the questions focused on the offense - most notably wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (who was not in attendance on Wednesday) and running back Kareem Hunt (who was) - with a few tidbits tossed in about the defense.
Here are a few highlights (all quotes from clevelandbrowns.com) from Kitchens time with the media.
What about Beckham not being around for offseason workouts?
Much has been made about Beckham coming to Cleveland for his introductory news conference on April 1 and then leaving town for other commitments. Beckham participated in Tuesday’s OTA session, but was not on the field on Wednesday.
While Kitchens said he would prefer every player be at every practice, he is willing to work with Beckham on the voluntary workouts:
“Listen, I have never disputed the fact that it is not important for him to be here, but it is also also important for him to be mentally ready to be here. I’m not giving him an out by any stretch of imagination, and nobody here knows the conversations that Odell and I have. I’m just saying it is better for him to be here when he can present his best self – emotionally, physically, everything. Odell Beckham is going to be here in the fall, and he is going to be a good football player in the fall just like he has been.”
On Hunt getting a second chance
The Browns got their first look at Hunt this week. While there is no denying his talent, Hunt, who is facing an eight-game suspension to start the season, needs to continue to put in the work to make his second chance pay off:
“Everybody in life has messed up. Not everybody gets second chances. He understands the gratitude of the second chance and what he has to do with it. I think he is making the most of it. He really is. There is a difference in coming back, getting a second chance and just doing what you are supposed to on the field and going home and just being good; but he is doing more than that. He is trying to have some outreach about him about what he is doing and his mistakes. He hasn’t denied anything. He owns up to it, but he also understands that is a platform to get better and affect other people.”
What about the players talking big this offseason?
A number of the new guys have talked about taking the Browns to the next level. Most notable among those was Beckham telling GQ magazine that he wanted to help turn the Browns into the next New England Patriots.
While some have been bothered by that, Kitchens is keeping things in perspective:
“I think maybe Odell was saying that he wanted to get to that point. Hell, I do, too. I want to get to that point. I think the New England Patriots have played 587 playoff games or something like that (laughter) with the collective team that they have on their roster right now. (Patriots QB) Tom Brady has played in nine Super Bowls and won six of them. I want to get to there so we can print that. I want to get to be what the Patriots are. Everybody in the National Football League, if they don’t tell you that they want to be what the Patriots are, they are lying to you. I think that is what he was saying. He wasn’t making predictions. We are not going to be in that business of making predictions. We are going to predict that we are going to work hard the next day and put our efforts into that.”
The offense is not the only side of the ball
With so much of the focus being on the offensive players, Kitchens had some fun reminding everyone not to forget about the defense:
“I don’t know if you guys got the AP Wire. Is there an AP Wire still going on these days? Anyways, we signed some defensive guys that can play some football. We really did. (DT) Sheldon Richardson, (DE) Olivier Vernon, (S) Morgan Burnett, we added some pieces on defense, too. Hopefully, you guys in the fall start talking about them a little bit.”
Myles Garrett has some additional help
Garrett led the team last season with 13.5 sacks and made his first Pro Bowl team. Now the additional pieces are going to benefit Garrett:
“(Olivier) can also help No. 95. He can also help Myles by him being on the other side. The more good football players you put around Myles, the better he is going to be, just as is the case with anybody.”
The Browns will hold the third of their 10 OTAs on Thursday. Expect plenty of talk tomorrow about who is (and is not) in attendance.