5. Special Teams needs to be solidified
This one really is all-encompassing as Cleveland was bad in just about every facet of special teams. In all honesty, punter Britton Colquitt and long snapper Charley Hughlett may be the only two players on special teams that stood out for the right reasons. As for everyone else, it was tough to watch at times.
First was the issue in the kicking game with Zane Gonzalez missing key attempts in the overtime game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 as well as the close contest against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2. He was released after the second outing and undrafted rookie Greg Joseph took his place.
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Joseph did better and finished 17-of-20 on field goals but still was somewhat shaky on extra points as he finished 25-of-29 in that department. Cleveland hopes to have cleaned this up by drafting Austin Seibert out of Oklahoma, who comes in with rave reviews from his former teammates — including Baker Mayfield.
The Browns also struggled in the return game, averaging just 9.1 yards per punt return and 20.1 on kickoffs. They hope the addition of new special teams coach Mike Priefer will help in this area as he has a great track record of success. They’ve also dedicated some roster spots to players who thrive on special teams like Eric Murray who was added in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Priefer will also be tasked with cleaning up the penalties. Cleveland tied for eighth in the NFL in 2018 with eight penalties on Special Teams whereas Priefer’s previous team, the Minnesota Vikings, had a league-low seven.