Browns Camp Notes: Austin Corbett still in running for RG job

Freddie Kitchens doesn’t feel need to add another RB

Daryl Ruiter
August 18, 2019 - 3:30 pm
Jul 27, 2018; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns offensive guard Austin Corbett (63) stretches during training camp at the Cleveland Browns Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Austin Corbett hasn’t seen work with he first-team offense at right guard since before the Orange and Brown scrimmage/practice on Aug. 3.

Corbett has been working almost exclusively as the backup center, while being shuffled at right and left guard with the twos and threes, but that doesn’t mean he’s out of the running for the starting job according to head coach Freddie Kitchens.

“No, he is not [out of the competition],” Kitchens said Sunday. “We have to have somebody that snaps the ball and not leave (C) JC Tretter on the field the whole game. Right now, Austin is working at center. We are working a couple of other guys at center that just are not getting the amount of reps.”

Corbett, who saw a combined 48 snaps, struggled mightily Saturday against the Colts backups and while Kitchens maintains the 33rd overall pick in the 2018 Draft is still in the running to start, his work tells a different story.

Corbett does not look like a starter and it’s clear that Kitchens is testing his versatility.

“When you do cut your roster down, you need a certain amount of guys that can snap the ball, a certain amount of guys that can play guard and a certain amount of guys that can play tackle,” Kitchens said. “If you ever have somebody that can play all three, you are kind of ahead of the game.”

While the perception is that Kitchens is running out of time to figure out what to do at right guard, he isn’t in a hurry to decide if he’ll stick with Eric Kush, who has been taking the majority of the one reps the last three weeks.

“We are going to continue to look at people,” Kitchens said. “I have a sense of urgency everywhere, but I don’t know that we are running out of time per se. I don’t know who sets the rules as far as to [when you have to name a starter]. I thought we only needed a starter by the time we get to September 8. That is the way I am approaching it. You probably would like to have one in place that Monday or Tuesday before. You may see something you haven’t seen in a guy up until then.

“I think a couple of the guys we have been playing there are just now getting kind of comfortable. We will see. We still have two games left and in theory six practices before we start preparation [for Week 1].”

Drew Forbes has gotten a look recently, and he saw time at both guard spots Saturday.

“He is continuing to get comfortable as far as knowing what to do and how to do it,” Kitchens said. “He is in the mix, and we will see where it goes. He is getting better. You see Drew getting better even within [practices].

“I think he got better as game went on. He was better in the game this week than he was last week in the game. He just needs to keep that upward trend. One thing I like to tell young guys is don’t make the same mistake twice. I don’t mind you making mistakes. Just don’t make it again. If we can continue to build our repertoire of that, then we will be OK, and that is at all positions.”

No body needed – With Dontrell Hilliard nursing a hamstring injury following the trade of Duke Johnson, the Browns are thin at running back but Kitchens doesn’t think they need another body.

“No, I think we are good,” Kitchens said. “Again, that is just like every position. We are always on the lookout for guys. Open communication between John, his staff and me, and we are always looking. We do not feel a sense of urgency right now to do anything.”  

Kareem Hunt, who is suspended for the first eight games of the season, made his preseason debut Saturday. He ran twice for six yards and saw 11 snaps.

“I wanted to keep him between 10-15 plays, and he was right at that just because he is coming off of an injury really,” Kitchens said. “Keep in mind, the first time he had actually been back and up against competition was Wednesday down in Indianapolis. Just because he is not going to be with us first [to start the season], I don’t want him leaving banged up in any way, anything like that or anything that he can’t come back from. You increase your chances of that, and I wanted to make sure he is prepared physically for competition.”

Impressive, but…. – Kitchens did not seem impressed with Jamie Gillan’s 74-yard punt on Saturday, and he explained why.

“I think it was good, but I think it needs a little better hang time,” Kitchens said. “First of all, it is incredible, OK? Secondly, I would say if they had a guy who could catch the punt back there, you have 30 yards to run before you ever get anybody to the guy.”

“When you start talking about the kicking game, you have to evaluate all aspects of it. What I mean by that is…if you kick a ball 75 yards and a guy catches it, he runs 30 yards before anybody gets there and he falls forward for another five, then you are at 40-yard net. If you kick the ball with great hang time at 45 yards, and they have to fair catch it, then that is a 45-yard yet. We are better off as a team if you do the second rather than the first. That is kind of the way that I view that.”

Gillan is competing to unseat veteran Britton Colquitt as the team’s punter but it appears that he may not be ready for the job in Cleveland despite his impressive leg.   

“It was a great kick. I would love it if we were in competition to see how far we can kick the ball,” Kitchens said. “Ultimately, it goes off how it affects the team, and how it affects the team is we have to be able to cover these things. We have to be able to put them where we want to, direction and stuff like that.”

Up next – Practice Monday in Berea 10:30 a.m.-12:50 p.m.