Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for 850 ESPN Cleveland.
Takeaways from Day 17 of Browns training camp …
1. Kicking update: After another shaky practice day for the kickers, Freddie Kitchens said, “I know when we send the field goal team out I don’t want to send [it] out there thinking, ‘Well, maybe we’ll make it.’ I want to know that they’re going to make it.”
Well, that feeling doesn’t exist right now with either kicker.
In scripted kicks, Austin Seibert went first and made four field goals and missed two – wide left on a 40-yarder and wide right from 53. Seibert crushed his final try from 56.
Greg Joseph also was 4 of 6 – hitting the right upright from 53 and missing wide right from 56.
Then in one pressure situation at the end of a move-the-ball team period, Joseph was good from 44 yards. Seibert then missed his pressure kick from 40 yards, wide left.
Asked if Seibert is pressing, Kitchens said, “I don’t know. He’s got to get it figured out. If I make him nervous … I plan on being at the games, so I don’t know.”
There are at least two other teams having kicking issues in their camps – the Jets and Bears – so there could be a mad scramble if and when a veteran with a track record becomes available.
Two veteran kickers with indirect ties to the Browns may be let go down the road. They are Cairo Santos of Tampa Bay and Dan Bailey of Minnesota. Santos kicked for the Chiefs three seasons John Dorsey was their GM. Bailey had a difficult season last year for Browns special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, making only 5 of 11 field goals from plus-40 yards.
“Is [lack of supply] a problem? I don’t know. It will be soon,” Kitchens said.
“We’re not trying to bring in a new kicker right now, if that’s what you’re asking. We’ve got two guys right here that can kick the ball a long way. We need them to get their act right and get the job done.
“We’re not looking to replace them right now. We’re looking to get them better. The process of evaluation and judging them has not concluded yet. When it concludes, then we’ll make that decision.”
2. Faith in Drew: Garrett Gilbert’s good performance (13 of 19, 151 yards, 2 TDs, 127.3 rating) in his start in Indianapolis caused some fans to wonder why the No. 3 quarterback isn’t being given an opportunity to unseat veteran Drew Stanton as the top backup behind Baker Mayfield.
Kitchens expounded on why his faith in Stanton is unbending.
“Drew is very valuable to the quarterback room, which is the most important room in the building to have continuity in there and to have the ability for everybody in there to check their egos at the door and to get the starter ready to play,” Kitchens said.
“That is their job every week. Everybody in that room is going to have a job. It may be red-zone breakdowns. It may be third-down breakdowns. It may be play action breakdowns. Everybody in that room has a job on a week-to-week basis, and Drew does a good job of organizing that and making sure they stay on track.
“It is good to have a young guy with Baker to have somebody like that in the mix, especially with someone who has been with me for so long.”
Stanton made his favorable impression on Kitchens in the 2016 season in Arizona when he relieved injured starter Carson Palmer and won five of eight starts to keep the Cardinals’ playoff hopes alive. Stanton won four of five spot starts over the following two years, giving him 10 wins in his last 16 starts.
Stanton, 36, was not active in any game in his first year with the Browns. He was signed by Dorsey to serve as Mayfield’s personal mentor so that projected starter Tyrod Taylor could concentrate on the starter’s role. After Kitchens took over as coordinator, Stanton’s influence in the offense increased.
Stanton, 36, has appeared in only 10 games in three years and 38 in his seven-year NFL career. But Kitchens believes he still has the physical tools to perform.
“I think once a quarterback gets to a certain point in their career, they have to start doing it with their mind a little bit more than their legs,” Kitchens said. “He still has an arm, and he is still pretty accurate. The last 16 games Drew has played, he is 10-6. It is a production business. I do not care what anybody says or anybody thinks they see. It is a production-based business and getting the job done. It is either yay or nay.”
Kitchens already has indicated he favors keeping three quarterbacks, and Gilbert probably has earned his spot.
3. Brownie bits: Odell Beckham Jr.’s one-handed, between-the-legs catch of a ball thrown by an assistant coach in position warmups went viral on social media on Monday, but the catch of the day was turned in by Jarvis Landry, who is the member of the Dynamic Duo working in team periods. Landry came down with a perfectly thrown ball by Mayfield that whizzed past Morgan Burnett just as Landry made his break to the left sideline. He was exactly where Mayfield expected him to be, 42 yards downfield …
Coaches continued to give a few reps with the first team to Drew Forbes and Kendall Lamm. Both are in the mix at right guard, but Lamm, who is the third tackle, could enable the Browns move a starting tackle to guard as another option to fix the starting five …
Two offensive players who have missed a lot of practice time with injuries are back. Receiver Damion Ratley, who practiced in Indiana after three weeks out with a hamstring injury, got his first reps in team periods and even got some looks with the first team. Tight end Seth DeValve was cleared from concussion protocol and participated in individual periods …
Another two-hour practice in pads under a steamy sun ended with a situation set up by Kitchens. Fourth-and-goal at the 5-yard line. First team v. first team. Mayfield threw to the corner for Jaelen Strong, but the ball popped out as he fell to the ground. That caused the entire offense – everybody wearing white – to drop to the ground and do 10 push-ups to end the day.