Hopefully the early stages of training camp are not an ominous sign of more of that to come.
General manager John Dorsey drafted Austin Seibert in the fifth round to challenge incumbent Greg Joseph, but Joseph is winning the job, by default.
Seibert has been that bad.
Seibert, who drew a Bronx cheer from fans after making a 37-yard kick to cap a 2-minute drive, blew a 46-yarder that came in a get the field goal unit on the field with the clock running out to end practice drill. Joseph hit his – a 42-yard try.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield took up for the Oklahoma Sooner after practice.
“It's practice,” Mayfield said. “He's going to get it ironed out. That's why he was drafted that high. He's working on it.”
Both missed in another end of game situation – Seibert, again, not even close to the uprights from 54 and Joseph was wide left from 41 drawing groans from the crowd and it even prompted a few fans to yell, “Dorsey, you need a kicker!”
Head coach Freddie Kitchens has tried not to ring any alarm bells when asked about his kickers but as the misses in key simulated situations mount, that has to be getting harder.
“They need to keep competing. That is all I have to say about it right now,” Kitchens said Wednesday. “They just need to keep competing, forget about today and move on to the next day. I would like for them to move on from kick to kick, but let’s start with a day-to-day thing right now.”
Seibert and Joseph started the day strong going 5-5 from 33, 39, 43, 46 and 49 in a team period with Seibert banking his 39-yarder off the right upright and through.
On one play, rookie cornerback Greedy Williams, who got some reps with the ones, failed to touch receiver Rashard Higgins down prompting Kitchens to remind Williams that he wasn’t at LSU anymore.
“These guys have been playing football their whole life and they never had to touch somebody once he is on the ground,” Kitchens said. “It is just a learning process. Everybody is learning. There is a lot of learning going on right now, which it should be because we are doing a lot of teaching.”
Higgins also failed to realize that he wasn’t down causing Mayfield to bark at him.
“We need to be a smart football team and be a step ahead of the game 'cause you won't win if you play dumb,” Mayfield said. “There's little things we get better at each day, but there's also things we need to work on. That's why it's training camp.”
Rookie cornerback Sheldrick Redwine saw his interception of backup QB Drew Stanton wiped out by an offsides penalty. Then there were the dropped passes and a few fumbles too.
Kitchens was not happy with receiver Ishmael Hyman after a long catch and run that saw the clock expire instead of the receiver going down to call a timeout and get the field goal unit on the field.
Another closing seconds situation saw time run out on the first team offense following a completion to tight end David Njoku. Kitchens gave that situation a pass, blaming it on a poor spot to begin that play.
“There are games won and lost because of one play or one decision,” Kitchens said. “It usually falls on the coach on what decision, but after that ball is snapped, we need to play smart. We need to know what to do and what situation is occurring in front of us and react accordingly.
“This game is about the players. The coaches are not out there. The coaches can’t walk them through it every time it happens during a game. We want to develop and keep creating an environment so we can learn these things so we can be a smarter football team.”
Tretter was quickly back with the first-team offensive line after trainers wrapped it in tape for him.
“I would not expect anything other from him than to finish,” Kitchens said. “I do not know where that expectation level came from that he needed to sit out because he had a little hurt ankle. JC demonstrated last year that he can play hurt.”
Last year Tretter played through a significant high ankle sprain he suffered in Week 6 and as the injuries begin to pile up in camp, Kitchens hopes his team takes notice of Tretter’s toughness and become inspired by it.
“We have to understand as a group collectively – offense, defense and special teams – the difference between being hurt and being injured,” Kitchens said. “We are a week into camp. You are banged up. You are coming off an off day, but we just went through five days in a row and three days in pads. I do not expect anyone to feel good, and I promise they are not going to feel good at the end of this training camp.
“I need to see somebody build and bring it through and be the best they can be, even though they may be a little nicked up. I knew JC would do it. He did it all of last year. It was good to see because people tend to follow. They see somebody do that, and people tend to follow. We need guys like that.”
“It was good having them out,” Kitchens said. “We are Cleveland fans.”
Owner Jimmy Haslam visited with them for a few minutes early in the day and Myles Garrett took a moment to run over and shake their hands during practice.
Austin Corbett spent his day with the second team as the backup center and Kyle Kalis was the backup right guard.
“Maybe you will find out. Maybe you won’t. I do not know,” Mayfield said. “That is the elegance of having a mustache. You just do not know what is going to happen.”
Did he lose a bet? “It is like the quarterback RV – you guys just do not know,” Mayfield said.
Then Mayfield was asked if he was going to be staring in any films anytime soon to which he responded, “You would like that, wouldn’t you?”