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Browns HC Freddie Kitchens Says Offense 'Not Even Close' in Loss vs. Buccaneers

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2019

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) escapes a tackle by Tampa Bay Buccaneers nose tackle Ndamukong Suh (93) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens lamented a poor performance by quarterback Baker Mayfield and a patchwork first-team offense following a 13-12 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3 of the 2019 NFL preseason Friday night at Raymond James Stadium.

"It was just a frustrating night all the way around," Kitchens told reporters. "Offensively we didn't executeβ€”not even close to where we want to go."

Mayfield completed just 10 of his 26 passes for 72 yards with no touchdowns and one interception while leading a unit that was without running back Nick Chubb, wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway and tight end David Njoku.

Kitchens wasn't interested in using those high-profile absences as an excuse for the lackluster outing.

"Not at allβ€”those guys are coached to execute," he said. "Those guys are coached to do their job, and we didn't do a very good job of preparing those guys to do their job, and they didn't do a good job of doing their job. The execution wasn't there, and it had been before. Those guys have played in other games, and they performed in practice, and they're expected to perform."

The team's first-year head coach said the result won't change his outlook about the final preseason game, however, noting there's "not a chance" his starters see the field Thursday against the Detroit Lions.

Mayfield will finish the preseason with a 46.9 percent completion rate to go along with one touchdown and one interception, though he was working without his top targets.

"I'm not happy with some of my throws, but we'll see," he said after Friday's loss. "We just have to get all the little details ironed out, and it doesn't matter who's in there. We've got to be able to click."

Expectations are sky high for the Browns heading into the 2019 season. They own 14-1 odds (viaΒ Caesars Palace) to win the Super Bowl thanks to the flashes of brilliance Mayfield showed late in his rookie season and a series of offseason additions led by Beckham.

Preseason struggles aren't enough to significantly alter that outlook, especially given how many starters have skipped the exhibition slate, but there's room for improvement as Cleveland prepares for its Week 1 clash with the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 8.