Greg Joseph had a good year kicking for the Cleveland Browns after a shaky start in 2018. Even though he is the better kicker in Training camp thus far, he probably won’t be the starting kicker come week 1.
NFL kickers are a weird breed – they sit around all game and are often called on in the most critical times to help elevate the last minute drives into points.
The 2018 campaign for kickers on the Cleveland Browns was very interesting, at least at the start of the season. Second year pro Zane Gonzalez started the year as the field goal kicker, and it only took a few weeks for him to end up off the team.
After having a game winning field goal against the Pittsburgh Steelers blocked, and then missing two field goals and two extra points against the New Orleans Saints, Gonzalez was cut and replaced by undrafted rookie Greg Joseph. While many may dreadfully remember his first field goal for the team, a wobbly kick that managed to make its way through the uprights, those who payed attention realized the Joseph became a consistent kicker that could be relied on. Joseph made 17 out of his 20 attempts, although he did miss four extra points over the length of the season.
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When the Browns decided to not sign a free agent kicker this off-season to compete with Joseph, many thought the team would rely on him to be the man again in 2019. John Dorsey talked prior to the draft about his lack of success taking specialists in the draft:
"“In Green Bay, we drafted a kicker,” Dorsey recalled via Matthew Florjancic of WKYC. “It didn’t work out too well, but still, I’ve been involved in that and there’s also been a punter we drafted, too. That didn’t work out too well either.”"
Even though Dorsey seemed willing to rely on Joseph, the team drafted Austin Seibert out of Oklahoma in the fifth round. And through the first week of training camp, Joseph has continued to impress, while Seibert has struggled and been inconsistent at best.
While it’s still early, roster cuts are coming. Teams rarely take two kickers into the regular season, and although Joseph seems to have control of the job thus far, he likely won’t be the starting kicker after the preseason.
Dorsey spent a draft pick on Seibert, and he likely won’t give up on the rookie this early. While it may be better to hang onto a guy that has proven to be serviceable thus far, having a guy in Seibert that was drafted is much harder to move on from than an undrafted free agent in Greg Joseph in the eyes of a front office.
Greg Joseph has a chance to win the kicking job, especially if he keeps up his impressive start this week. But unless the train completely derails and Austin Seibert doesn’t right the ship, the Browns could very well have another rookie with significant kicking duties in 2019.