Cleveland Browns: Kicking decision reflects rebuilding model

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns went with the rookie Zane Gonzalez as the kicker for this season, sticking with the process being used in this current rebuild.

All the attention paid to the quarterback position helped distract from one of the main position competitions taking place this preseason in Cleveland Browns camp.

The search for the next Phil Dawson continues, as there was once again a tight race between two men to see who will suit up as the kicker for the Browns in 2017.

Cody Parkey and Zane Gonzalez both played well, but the rookie Gonzalez ultimately came out on top after the final roster cuts. Parkey was the incumbent and went 20-25 in 2016, with three of his misses coming in his first game with the team.

The fact the team stuck with him throughout the 2016 season shows that one dismal game in Miami didn’t do him in, but drafting Gonzalez did signal that the Browns wanted a better option at the kicker position.

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No matter how legendary a kicker may be, there should always be a competition in training camp. Parkey was in no way a legend, but he did do enough last year to retain a job on most teams. And with the way he did in training camp and the preseason, his job would have been secure in most places.

But the Browns are in the midst of a youth movement, and even though Parkey is only in his fourth season, going with a rookie at an equal skill level will continue to be done at every position until players become too valuable, like Joe Thomas or Jamie Collins.

The good news is that if Gonzalez does struggle and Parkey doesn’t find a new team right away, the staff is familiar enough to bring him back. However, Parkey will likely find a new job sooner than later.

Next: Browns acquire Sammie Coates

Finding a permanent option at kicker is the goal, so hopefully drafting Gonzalez pays off in a big way. Cody Parkey is no scrub, but he was an unfortunate casualty to the current rebuilding process in Cleveland.