The Cleveland Browns caught a tough break this past weekend when Dustin Hopkins went down with a hamstring injury. They also had some good fortune when they were able to sign RIley Patterson who was cut by the Detroit Lions recently. Patterson wound up losing his job to Michael Badgley and as was the case when the Chargers moved on from Hopkins, this competition appears to be a win for Cleveland.
Hopkins, who had been a great kicker throughout his career, simply lost out to another great kicker, Cameron Dicker. For Patterson, the same happened. There were no bad outings that led to his ouster, but instead, an internal competition where Badgley wound up edging him out.
Patterson was nearly automatic this year, nailing 15-of-17 attempts with one of his misses coming from beyond 50. He did miss two extra points, but Hopkins has as well. This year was no anomaly either. For his career, Patterson has made 87.9 percent of his kicks. That should give Cleveland confidence when they have to settle for field goals.
Browns kicking game will have one major change with Patterson
Patterson has an impressive percentage overall but there's one area where he will be a vast downgrade from Hopkins — beyond 50. Patterson is 1-of-2 this year and just 3-of-6 in his career. His long is 53 yards, which he hit in 2022 while with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Hopkins, on the other hand, is 23-of-38 in his career but has been deadly accurate in 2023 from beyond 50. Hopkins is 8-of-8 this year with a 58-yarder under his belt. His ability to kick from nearly anywhere was a huge weapon.
Having said that, Patterson was a great signing for the Browns. It's rare a kicker with his accuracy comes available this late. It will just be interesting to see if their strategy on long kicks changes should they have to rely on the 24-year-old.