The Cleveland Browns are having a very physical camp leading up to the regular season and with the recent addition of fullback Joe Kerridge that won’t change.
The Cleveland Browns cut fullback/tight end Orson Charles and then added tight end Rico Gathers to take his roster spot on Sunday. What went unnoticed was the addition of fullback Joe Kerridge on Saturday.
Unnoticed no longer, Kerridge made his presence felt during Monday’s live period of practice. The six-foot, 245 pound Michigan alum had zero qualms about sticking his nose in at the point of attack and doing the dirty work. Kerridge was even getting work with the first-team offense during the goal line period.
Monday’s practice was arguably the most physical practice of this year’s camp, and Kerridge was a large part of that. During one collision, Kerridge lost his helmet, but continued to carry out his assignment and finish his block. While not recommended, that kind of effort will definitely earn the respect of his teammates and the attention of the coaches.
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Kerridge’s blocking also gained the attention of the people in attendance as well as the reporters at practice. Cleveland Browns Daily’s and sideline reporter Nathan Zegura was quoted:
"“A newcomer, Joe Kerridge number 49, a fullback new to this roster had an excellent day of practice. You could see not only his ability to lead-block but also might have just that right amount of crazy as he was out there practicing at times without a helmet.” – Nathan Zegura"
The physicality of this year’s camp has been a point of emphasis for head coach Freddie Kitchens, and the addition of Kerridge only punctuates that. There is a possibility that the only reason Kerridge was brought into camp was to turn the physicality up a notch to help harden this year’s team.
Kerridge is a true fullback, a position that many NFL teams no longer employ due to the spread them out, pass-happy nature that the league has become. And while the Browns are definitely going to be able to throw it all over the yard, there will come a time when they will need to play old-school, smash-mouth football. The addition of a rugged fullback could be just what this offense needs to be well-rounded.
To make the Browns roster, Kerridge will have to prove himself to be extremely versatile, and that will most certainly have to include being a standout on special teams. He will have the next few preseason games to prove his worth. The best thing that could happen for Kerridge is the Browns being put in obvious running situations and show that he is the man for the job.
The life of an NFL fullback is mostly a thankless one. Luckily for Kerridge, Browns fans are quick to wrap their arms around blue-collar workers. Hopefully for Kerridge, he proves himself to be no average Joe.