BEREA — Defensive end Myles Garrett is always going to speak his mind.
So while acknowledging that ripping coordinator Gregg Williams’ game plan to reporters in the minutes following the 33-18 loss to the Steelers on Sunday wasn’t the best idea, he wouldn’t take back the critical comments even if he could.
“I don’t regret saying it at all,” Garrett said Friday. “It definitely led to him and me having a talk. That kind of dialogue between each other is what we’re going to need throughout the season and maybe years down the line for us to have more success.
“If I’m going to speak my mind, it would probably be best to speak it to him and not air out my frustration out there like that, but he understands. It’s a learning experience.”
Garrett said Williams should’ve used the game plan from the opening tie against Pittsburgh rather than change approaches. Williams, who was named interim coach Monday after Hue Jackson was fired, called the criticism a “non-issue” but only after saying he tells players to blame him if they have a “hard time taking responsibility.”
“Like he said, greatest gift is to put it on him,” Garrett said when asked how Williams took the comments. “Don’t plan to put it on him, plan to put it on myself, which is what I always do after a loss or even after a win. I can always do better, I can always find a way to make more plays and be more effective.”
After watching the game film, Garrett said the players’ execution was the bigger problem in the Steelers rushing for 168 yards but added players were “confused” by the plan.
“Just trying to get on the same page, where we’re all comfortable doing what we’re assigned to do and we’re not going to be bumping heads, not going to be any drama or turmoil between us or within the team,” he said. “We’re just going to all get after it and play our game.”
Garrett approves of Williams in his added new role.
“Feel like he’s brought a new attitude to the whole team,” he said. “Everyone’s being positive about the changes and looking forward to what we can do on Sunday. I think guys are really coming out with a different kind of fire. Feel like it’s sharper on both ends.”
Chiefs linebacker and Clearview High School graduate Anthony Hitchens is fighting through a painful rib injury in an attempt to play Sunday in front of the hometown fans.
He took a helmet to the ribs Sunday in a win over the Broncos, didn’t practice Wednesday and was limited the last two days. He was listed as questionable on the official injury report and coach Andy Reid said “we’ll see” if he’s able to play.
Hitchens signed with the Chiefs as a free agent in the offseason after four years with the Cowboys. He’s started all eight games in Kansas City’s 7-1 start and leads the team with 72 tackles and six for loss.
“He makes almost every single play,” Browns running back Nick Chubb said. “He’s a red-dot player for us.”
That means the Browns are paying him extra attention.
“We’re making it a point to contain him,” Chubb said. “He’s in on just about every play.”
Hitchens’ other NFL appearance at FirstEnergy Stadium was in 2016. He had six tackles and a half-sack in Dallas’ 35-10 win.
Rashard Higgins, the No. 3 wideout, is back and plans to make an impact.
“A big one,” he said. “When the ball comes to me, it’s mine. End of the story.”
Higgins has missed the last three games with a sprained medial collateral ligament. He returned to practice Thursday, was limited and listed as questionable, but declared himself “100 percent ready to go.” He has 16 catches for 244 yards and a touchdown in five games.
Rookie starter Antonio Callaway (ankle) didn’t practice Friday and was listed as questionable. Higgins would likely slide into the starting spot but said that won’t be necessary.
“He’ll be out there. He better,” Higgins said of Callaway. “You heard the speech that Jarvis gave, right? His a– better be out there.”
No. 1 receiver Jarvis Landry’s passionate, profanity-laced training camp speech to the wideouts about not missing practice went viral after it was shown on “Hard Knocks.”
Defensive back Damarious Randall (groin) didn’t practice all week but expects to play.
“I’m just going to talk to the training staff and the coaching staff to see what they think, but I plan on being ready to go,” he said.
He’s played every game this year and has two interceptions despite battling heel, ankle and groin injuries.
“I really haven’t practiced since Week 2,” he said.
** Struggling rookie left tackle Desmond Harrison (illness) didn’t practice Friday and was listed as questionable. Veteran Greg Robinson would start in his place.
** Center JC Tretter (ankle) was listed as questionable but is expected to play.
** Middle linebacker Joe Schobert (hamstring) will miss his third straight game.
SHARING A LAUGH
Williams took the playful jab in the spirit it was intended.
Freddie Kitchens ended his first news conference as offensive coordinator Thursday by, unprompted, saying he had never been offered a head coaching job. It came on the heels of Williams saying he had four offers and 11 requests since 2003, which received a ton of negative attention on social media.
“That is Freddie every day,” Williams said. “If you all could hear him upstairs, the things that he says all of the time with dry humor. He came straight upstarts, came straight to my office and laid it on me. I thought that was funny as all get out. I need to laugh, too.”
The Chiefs ruled out center Mitch Morse (concussion) and backup linebacker Frank Zombo (hamstring). Former Brown Austin Reiter is expected to start at center.
** Chiefs safety Eric Berry (heel) was listed as doubtful and outside linebacker Justin Houston (hamstring) as questionable.
** The Browns will host their annual food drive to benefit the Greater Cleveland Food Bank prior to the game. Volunteers will collect donations outside the stadium starting at 11 a.m.
** Former left tackle Joe Thomas was announced as the Browns’ nominee for the Salute to Service Award that honors a league member who demonstrates a commitment to honoring and supporting the military community.