CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns are not ready to hit the panic button just yet.
The Browns’ regular-season opener did not go as planned, as they were considered favorites against the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, only to commit a near historic amount of penalties and three interceptions on the way to a 43-13 loss.
But rather than focus on the past, the Browns invoked the time-honored tradition of the 24-hour rule and already have turned their focus to their Week 2 matchup against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey in front of a national television audience on Monday Night Football.
“What we have to refrain from doing right now is overreacting,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said after watching video of the loss Monday.
“It is one game in a 16-game schedule. We are very disappointed in the lack of discipline that we showed, the loss of composure that we showed at times and just overall not doing a good enough job from a coaching perspective and a player perspective to get the job done in a positive manner.”
Although frustrated by the loss, Kitchens was happy with the response from the players during Monday’s film sessions.
“We have preached from the very beginning about blocking out the outside noise and we’ve got to continue to do that,” Kitchens said. “Recognize the problem, and then, rectify the problem. We talk all the time all throughout training camp that they were put in situations where problems arose, so we identify those problems, and then, we rectify the problems.
“That is how you get better as a football team. I fully expect that we have the men in the locker room that are going to do that.”
Throughout training camp, Kitchens said, “the Browns do not practice penalties,” and while no team likes to give up free yards, Cleveland took things to the extreme against the Titans.
The Browns not only committed 18 penalties for 182 lost yards, but six were personal fouls that cost the team 15 yards each time.
The 18 penalties were tied for the second-most in a single game in franchise history and the most since 1951.
“A lot of it was losing composure at times,” Kitchens said. “[Bad] technique causes you to be in bad positions to commit penalties.
“We need to continue to work on our technique in the back end of things on defense and upfront. It is about maintaining your composure and being the smarter football team. We understand that problem, and we will work on fixing that problem.”
Because of the way the Browns responded to the setback against the Titans during their meetings and film sessions, Kitchens is “very confident” the penalty issues will not carry over to next Monday’s game against the Jets.
“The men we have in that locker room, they are going to rally together, and they are going to be accountable to each other,” Kitchens said. “They are accountable to each other. They understand the problems that we created for ourselves.
“We need to play smarter. That is what we need to change moving forward. We need to coach smarter. We need to play smarter. We just need to be a smart, tough, physical football team.”