Freddie Kitchens downplays concern over kicking woes

Greg Joseph, Austin Seibert missed long kicks against Colts

Daryl Ruiter
August 18, 2019 - 2:39 pm

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Cleveland, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Last year the inability to make field goals cost the Browns at least two victories, and an argument could be made it may have cost one or two more, but Freddie Kitchens isn’t concerned about last year.

The problem is that the early returns from this year’s kicking competition during training camp and the preseason point towards a similar problem reoccurring in 2019.

“We need somebody that can put the ball between the two yellow poles,” Kitchens said. “Those guys are continuing to work.”

A day after their 21-18 win over the Colts in Indianapolis, Kitchens tried to downplay concern over Greg Joseph and Austin Seibert, but his frustrations with missed kicks is apparent.

Joseph missed a 53-yard try before the half and Seibert wasn’t close on a 52 yarder in the fourth quarter.

Joseph’s kick as time expired at the half was pushed back because of an illegal hand to the face penalty, which factored into Kitchens’ frustration over the situation. A week earlier against Washington a holding penalty pushed them out of field goal range, and they couldn’t even try a kick before the half.

“To me, those critical errors are just as important as the missed field goals themselves,” Kitchens said, “because we gotta do what we can do to get these guys in a better position to make them. But are they expected to make a 53-yard field goal? Yes, they are. Am I concerned about it? No, because we’re not playing for real yet, but I will be.”

During training camp Joseph has been the more consistent kicker during 11-on-11 kicking work, but he at times has struggled in the simulated pressure situations. Seibert, a fifth-round draft choice this year, has yet to find his footing.

Kitchens won’t blame holds for missed kicks either as punters Britton Colquitt and Jamie Gillan have rotated the responsibility.

“I don’t know about that. I do know this, it didn’t go through the uprights,” Kitchens said. “I know there’s no excuses coming from that room. Their job is to put the ball through the uprights and I don’t care who’s holding it. I can go out there and hold it for them and it better go through the uprights. That’s their job.”

Kitchens declined to say if he and general manager John Dorsey have considered brining in a fresh leg or legs.

“We have ongoing discussions about everything,” Kitchens said. “I wouldn’t just limit to that, but that’s stuff that John and I talk about. We’re always trying to evaluate our team and get better any way we can.”