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Maybe the second-half schedule isn’t tough but neither are the Cleveland Browns: Bud Shaw’s Sports Spin

Freddie Kitchens and the Browns show few signs of digging themselves out of a big hole.

CLEVELAND — Rinsing and repeating the details of another Browns loss...

  • CBS Sports sideline reporter Jay Feely said after Baker Mayfield’s fourth-down pass aimed at Jarvis Landry fell incomplete that Odell Beckham Jr. walked off the field saying, “I can’t get the ball to save my life.”

When asked, Beckham — in his best impression of an indicted politician — said he does not recall.

So we’ll say it for him, or some version of it.

Beckham can’t get the ball to save the Browns season.

And sometimes when he has, he’s dropped it.

With 3:23 remaining on the clock, the Cleveland Browns found themselves facing a 4th and 4 at the Denver Broncos' 28-yard line, trailing by five points and with the season on the line. Quarterback Baker Mayfield dropped back and locked in on wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who was unable to haul in a pass that was successfully defended by Denver cornerback Davontae Harris and Kareem Jackson.
  • Freddie Kitchens is slowly ruling out things he won’t talk about. Penalties? Says he doesn’t coach ‘em. But an emphasis on reducing penalties during the week paid off (to some extent) Sunday in Denver.

In the eighth game of the year.

  • Kitchens also said he won’t talk about playing time (Rashard Higgins) or targets (Odell Beckham Jr.) Pretty soon, these Kitchens press conferences will be 15-minute long staring matches.

 And I’m betting his eye discipline won’t be any better than his secondary’s.

  • Can we never again mention that Kitchens and so many other Browns coaches and GMs before him “won the press conference” when they get hired?

It’s impossible to lose a press conference as a new hire in the NFL unless you’re Adam Gase and you’re wondering if you’re the only one in the room that just saw the Yeti walk through.

  • The biggest disappointment from last year to this year is Kitchens can’t figure out a way to get the ball to his playmakers.

The second is some of his playmakers are for some reason concerned before and after games about their shoes and facial hair.

The Browns have some real talent. It’s just hard to take anything else about them seriously.

  • Not saying hair and shoe decisions affect play. Landry had to change his shoes at halftime per league request along with Beckham, who probably still believes he is being singled out.

I’d never say Landry loses his focus on the field. He plays too hard to deserve a weak take like that.

Just saying Kitchens hasn’t created an environment where his players' main concern is their jobs and how they’re going to hold on to them. He’s fed it, in fact.

A week after the Seattle game, Baker Mayfield was still talking about officiating. Beckham was still bothered by the NFL dress code. And Kitchens was still defending his end-of-half game management.

None of it mattered. Not one whoopty-hell.

  • Kareem Hunt is back this week. He could show up wearing tights and a cape and you still shouldn’t get too excited about him saving the season.

Two questions loom about Hunt. How ready is he after missing so much time? How will Freddie Kitchens use him when he still isn’t sure how to use Nick Chubb?

  • The Browns defensive line hasn’t come close to meeting expectations. Every good defense makes life tough for first-year quarterbacks. Brandon Allen has kicked around as a backup but hadn’t taken a regular season snap before Sunday.

I don’t want to say he looked relaxed but I swear I saw him take off a smoking jacket on the sidelines before coming back into the game.

  • Baker Mayfield wore a Fu Manchu for the game, shaved and went Paul Blart, Mall Cop for the press conference.

I know I never played the game. But I have to ask: If he’s going to grasp at straws, maybe Kevin Costner as Wyatt Earp would cut a more commanding figure.

  • The Browns cut safety Jermaine Whitehead after his post-game social media rants aimed at critics.

I won’t repeat what he said. If you want to look it up you can find it. I’ll just say it made “Jesus Tony” sound affectionate.

BEREA, Ohio - The Cleveland Browns have waived safety Jermaine Whitehead just hours after his name became the center of controversy for a series of threatening social media remarks following Cleveland's 24-19 loss to Denver. The Browns announced the move just before 9 a.m. Monday.
  • I am officially done picking Browns games. It’s become too embarrassing.

Like my 10-6 season prediction.

And Beckham presenting Tom Brady with goat-haired cleats on the field after a loss.

  • Kitchens said he doesn’t think there’s any quit in the Browns.

That’s an especially low bar given the predicted heights this season.

It’s not too far from hearing that in a press conference to hearing that the culture in Berea is going to change.

From the next head coach.

Who, no doubt, will have won the press conference.

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