In this corner! From Florida Atlantic University! Coming in at 6’0” and 208 lbs., Greg Joseph! And in this corner! From the University of Oklahoma! Standing at 5’9” and weighing 214 lbs., Austin Seibert! Yes, it is a battle for the Browns kicker position and those two aforementioned athletes are the competitors who are up to the task…or at least we thought.
Joseph signed on last season to the team as an undrafted free agent after general manager John Dorsey cut the very inconsistent Zane Gonzalez.
Enter 2019 and Dorsey took Seibert in the fifth round at the 170th overall pick. It was a little high, I thought, to take a kicker, but perhaps Dorsey had knowledge that other teams had Seibert in their crosshairs. After all, the former Sooner has the most points in FBS history at 499. Surely, that has to account for something. What it hasn’t accounted for thus far is any decisiveness in this struggle to find someone reliable at the position.
In yesterday’s preseason matchup against the Colts, both Seibert and Joseph each missed field goals in excess of 50 yards. While I am more than aware that this is no small feat to hit, they are facing second and third stringers in an environment devoid of weather. You can’t use wind as an excuse and there were certainly no Pro Bowlers out there leaping over lines and knocking down a field goal attempt. The bottom line is neither one of these guys could accomplish what the front office, the fans and the rest of the team are looking for.
A standout in the position.
These guys are hitting extra points all day in practice and preseason. That should be the case, though Greg Joseph certainly wrestled with his fair share of missed extra points last year. Field goals are the current demons for each athlete at the moment and neither seems to be hungry enough to secure that spot.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize this isn’t like a quarterback spot where there could be more than one of you on the final roster. We only need one kicker, but apparently we may have better luck sifting for gold in the Cuyahoga River. It has been an underwhelming competition at best between Joseph and Seibert, perhaps even a case of “You take it!” “No, you take it!”
If hopes of drafting Seibert would light a fire under Joseph, that hasn’t happened. If drafting Seibert was thought to lock down a miracle worker with his college stats, well, that hasn’t happened yet either.
There are going to be games that come down to the wire where the kicker is the deciding factor. I’m apprehensive to use the word ‘automatic’ when describing a kicker’s talent, but this team is in obvious need of a one who builds confidence when they’re called to the field. Right now, we are not seeing it from either Joseph or Seibert and that continues to be a major area of concern.