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It sounds like a bad TV show about a football team and immovable cars, doesn’t it? Still, that would certainly be a better alternative than what has transpired over the last season and a half. From a fan’s point of view, well, at least from this fan’s point of view, I feel there are two positions on a football team that get little to no love. First and foremost is the punter. They don’t score. They don’t defend (usually). They just…punt. Make no mistake, getting rid of the ball on 4th down can be crucial when it depends on where you punter boots it. After all, you are essentially determining where the opposition’s field position will be.
The next spot on the list is that of the kicker. They do score, mostly one point, sometimes three. Both of which are arguably the least exciting forms of scoring in football. Yet when a field goal is made at 50+ yards or when an extra point is missed, these can be absolute tide-turning events in a game. The Browns have certainly had their fair share missed extra points and botched field goals over the last 18 months. Last year, it was rookie Zane Gonzalez out of Arizona State who seemed to be in his own head more than Trevor Bauer gets in Trevor Bauer’s head.
Now, I was never for moving the extra point back, but I get it. It’s not automatic anymore; it adds more flavor to the game, blah blah blah. Either way, I’m not a fan, but to quote Jerry Seinfeld, “It is what it is.” At the end of the day, you still have to make them and if you can hit field goals from 40 and 50 yards out, then the extra point shouldn’t be an issue. For Gonzalez, it was more difficult for him to score one NFL point than it was for me to land a backflip off the chimney. Considering Gonzalez was a product of the deplorable Sashi Brown era, new GM John Dorsey had little patience for the kicker’s anemic output, abruptly replacing him earlier this season with rookie Greg Joseph.
We’re saved, right?! As the Aerosmith song goes, “Dream on.”
Joseph, a castoff of the Miami Dolphins, joined the brown and orange and thankfully made his first field attempt with Cleveland. However, I’d be lying if I said the masses of the north coast were instantly relieved. Joseph’s kick on that Thursday night game against the Jets launched slightly wide left, then miraculously sailed a bit to the right to secure an unnecessarily stressful three points. Such wobbly attempts didn’t stop there. After seven games with the team this year, Greg Joseph is holding onto a field goal accuracy rate a hair under 85% (11 of 13 made) while his extra points are an underwhelming 75% (6 of 8). Granted, he hasn’t even reached double-digit attempts in the extra point department this season, but still, you’ve got to make these opportunities when you’re presented with them.
With the current state of the Browns, Joseph has most definitely been an improvement over Gonzalez, although that’s like saying I’m better at algebra than a third grader. It’s not all that impressive of a claim when you think about it. If anything, it feels like this high wire act of extra points and field goals has brought up Phil Dawson’s name now more so than when he was here. To those previously underestimating the importance of the kicker, it makes you appreciate the position a little more, eh? Who knows what the future holds for the position on the team after this year, but rest assured, when Dorsey walks around this vehicle known as the Cleveland Browns in March, he’ll be looking to kick tires built on determined consistency, not deflated attempts.