Browns temperature check: Austin Watkins on fire while Cade York is on ice

Cleveland Browns kicker Cade York is having serious kicking issues while wide receiver Austin Watkins is making a name for himself
Cleveland Browns v Washington Commanders
Cleveland Browns v Washington Commanders / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

If you've followed the rise and fall of the Cleveland Browns kicker Cade York, you know it was an almost regrettable game-winning field goal a year ago against the Carolina Panthers in Week 1 that has gotten us to this critical stage for the Browns and York as they prepare for a new season.

York, with that game-winner, set himself up for this moment. If he had taken that inspiring moment and gone out and made a few more game-winners last season, then what we are watching now, wouldn't seem so dramatic.

Unfortunately, he missed a few potential game-winners the rest of last season and now has opened this preseason on a very slippery slope by missing several more attempts. While the Browns aren't outwardly expressing their concerns and instead throwing their support behind the kicker, it has to be bothering them a bit as York continues to miss very makeable field goals.

In the Thursday night game at the Philadelphia Eagles, York made his first three field goal attempts. He had missed his first two tries in prior games over the last two weeks so maybe the mental part of the game wasn't weighing down York as many of us had thought.

Those three makes on the night by York weren't exactly beauties as each wobbled and snuck inside the uprights. So, while they count as three points, it wasn't making me or you probably feel much better about him, especially when he got a shot at putting a 47-yard field goal through the goal posts to potentially win the game for the Browns.

His attempt went wide right. But wait... there was a flag on the play and a penalty against Philly. That gave the fourth-round draft pick another shot at the game-winner, now only 42 yards away. With anxiousness, Browns fans held their collective breath as they waited to see how their kicker would manage the extra try.

He of course pushed the kick to the left.

Browns legendary offensive tackle Joe Thomas and new Hall of Fame resident who was the commentator on the television broadcast for the game even said prior to the kicks that kicking in the NFL was like trying to sink a four-foot put in golf. The whole thing is "all mental" and basically prescribed what we are watching today from York. The kid is a mess mentally when it comes to kicking a football.

Its almost like we are watching Charlie Brown miss the kick every time Lucy pulls the ball away at the last second. It's grueling to watch and the Browns should do something about it. If they choose to not do anything, then when their team stumbles at the end they can only blame themselves for not acting on a serious problem for the team.

The explosion of Browns WR Austin Watkins

In better news for Cleveland, wide receiver Austin Watkins is quickly becoming a star on the field. In the game against the Eagles, Watkins was outstanding. He finished with 139 yards on seven catches which included a touchdown. Granted that the competition in these preseason games isn't exactly what we'll get during the regular season, but it's still very impressive.

While we've seen other wide receivers during previous preseasons do some nice things, what we are witnessing from Watkins is truly on another level. The Browns will have to seriously consider keeping Watkins on the final roster.

We know that wide receivers Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Elijah Moore, rookie Cedric Tillman, and probably David Bell are locks to make the final roster. That would leave one — maybe two if they go deep — spots on the roster.

With still many unknowns on Marquise Goodwin's health because of his blood clot issues, Watkins making this final group makes sense.

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