The Cleveland Browns areas of concern have become major issues

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 17: Kicker Austin Seibert #2 of the Cleveland Browns kicks a field goal during the preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 17: Kicker Austin Seibert #2 of the Cleveland Browns kicks a field goal during the preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns had two key position battles during camp, but both battles have turned into major issues with just weeks until the regular season.

With all of the hype the Cleveland Browns had entering training camp, some of the position battles were initially lost in the shuffle. But those battles quickly became headlines when they were mostly highlighted by struggles.

The battles at kicker and right guard were intriguing at first, especially at right guard, because of the amount of competition. But once none of the players were standing out and taking control of the competitions, it started to become a concern.

At kicker, both Greg Jospeh and Austin Seibert have been inconsistent, missing kicks from several different ranges. Seibert had some expectations after being a fifth-round selection, but he has missed multiple kicks that were not close to makes early on in camp.

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At right guard, Austin Corbett, Eric Kush, and Kyle Kalis all rotated with the first-team offense, but all three were unable to take a firm grasp on the job. Kush has received most of the first-team reps since the lead up to the preseason opener. However, head coach Freddie Kitchens said Kush still had a lot to prove.

The hope was that these battles would start to sort themselves out before the Browns have their “dress rehearsal” during Week 3 of the preseason. However, the battles have turned into major concerns with just two weeks left in the preseason instead of being figured out.

Against the Colts, both Joseph and Seibert hit all of their extra points. They were both given a chance to hit a 50+ yard field goals, but both Joseph and Seibert were unable to capitalize. Although missing 50-yard field goals are not cause for the Browns to freak out about their kickers, but it reemphasized how neither Joseph or Seibert have capitalized on opportunities to take control of the job.

Typically competition brings out the best in a player and forces them to be perfect in everything they do. But both kickers have not been able to string together multiple good kicking performances together, leaving the competition open longer than the Browns would have anticipated.

When looking at the right guard job, it seems fairly clear Kush is going to win the competition and become the starting right guard. However, it also seems pretty clear the Browns are not 100 percent comfortable in Kush’s performance yet. During the second preseason game, Kush played several snaps and was on the field with the second-team offensive line, working at right guard and center.

If the Browns were completely comfortable with what Kush can do, they would have taken him out of the game sooner rather than later to prevent the risk of an injury to one of their future starters. But they must feel that he still needs reps to clean up his game before the regular season.

Even though Kush is the clear front-runner for the right guard job and Joseph has been the better kicker during training camp, the two positions remain major issues for the Browns. They may not have many weaknesses on the roster, but these two positions have become serious concerns.

The Browns lost multiple games early on in 2018 because of missed kicks. With the Browns expected to be in playoff contention, they cannot continue to shoot themselves in the foot in 2019 because of inconsistency at kicker. They need whoever their kicker is to make kicks when they are put on the field, no matter the situation. But with the results of the kicking competition so far, it seems unlikely they will have that to start the regular season.

Cleveland also needs whoever their right guard is to be a stout blocker. Even with a high-powered offense, the Browns need an offensive line that is not going to allow pressure to get in the face of Baker Mayfield. Pressure can hinder any offense, and that does not exclude the Browns.

The Browns had one of the best offensive line performances during the second half of 2018, and that helped Mayfield and the offense excel. They need all five linemen need to perform without allowing much pressure. So if Kush is still having issues that the Browns coaching staff sees, then he could cause more problems for the offense than expected. He may only be one of the five linemen, but a couple missed blocks from one linemen can quickly change the outcome of games.

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Unless general manager John Dorsey can make a move to find upgrades at either position, which seems unlikely, these concerns are going to carry into the regular season. It may not be what the Browns expected was going to happen, but Cleveland is going to have to make the best out of whatever happens with the battles at kicker and right guard.