The Cleveland Browns struggled in their season opener last week, giving up 21 points in the fourth quarter in their 43-13 blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Coach Freddie Kitchens, though, isn’t having any slander that’s directed at the team — particularly from Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler.
During that game, Butler told Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry the team has no heart, Landry revealed in a new episode of “Building the Browns” — a series put out by the Browns each week.
“He does not know our locker room,” Kitchens said, via Cleveland.com. “I am sure some of our guys will read this and I want to be affirmative that everybody will find out what our team has, OK? Nobody is going to question our heart.
“There was nothing about heart with the way that game happened the other day. I don’t know who the hell is saying that, but they really do not know. They are not going to question our heart. If they do, they do not know what the hell they are talking about, whoever it is writing it or saying it.”
In Butler’s defense, things got bad late in Cleveland on Sunday.
The Browns entered the fourth quarter down just nine points before Marcus Mariota put together two touchdown drives for the Titans in less than five combined minutes. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield threw two interceptions that quarter, too, one of which was returned for a touchdown to seal the deal.
And then there were the penalties. The Browns racked up 18 penalties for 182 yards on the day, the most the team has had in 68 years.
“What we have to refrain from doing right now is overreacting,’’ Kitchens said after the loss, via Cleveland.com. “It’s one game in a 16-game schedule. We’re very disappointed in the lack of discipline that we showed, the loss of composure that we showed at times.’’
At the end of the day, though, Landry isn’t taking what Butler said seriously.
He, like Kitchens and the rest of the team, are more focused on bouncing back in their Monday night matchup against the New York Jets.
“I know the guys that’s in the building, I know the guys I go to work with every day and how hard they work,” Landry said, via Cleveland.com. “It’s definitely [a dig] for somebody to say that. It definitely kind of took me by surprise for a second.
“But at the same time, opponents are willing to say anything, you’ve just got to take it for what it is. Again, in that matter, I know the guys here, I know everybody is going to play under four quarters, 0:00 on the clock and a winner is decided.’’
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