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Browns position analysis: Highs and lows for a new-look special teams in 2016

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Over the next week, ClevelandBrowns.com will analyze each position group on the roster with a quick look back at 2016 and an eye toward 2017 and beyond.*

Raw Data

Cody Parkey — 20-of-25 field goals, 20-of-21 PATs, 34 touchbacks

Britton Colquitt — 83 punts, 3,671 yards, 45.2-yard average, 22 inside the 20

Duke Johnson Jr. — 17 punt returns, 112 yards

Mario Alford — 8 kick returns, 190 yards

George Atkinson III — 8 kick returns, 137 yards

Ricardo Louis — 9 kick returns, 164 yards

Tracy Howard — 7 kick returns, 111 yards

Charley Hughlett — N/A

Rankings

FG percentage — 77.8 percent (28th)

Opponent FG percentage — 70.4 (1st)

Number of punts — 83 (6th)

Kickoff return yardage — 634 (18th)

Punt return yardage — 220 (28th)

Opponent kickoff return — 510 (7th)

Opponent punt return — 376 (28th)

Yards per punt — 45.3 (19th)

Contract talk

The following players are restricted or unrestricted free agents heading into 2017:

Britton Colquitt

Quote to note

"I know everyone has well documented Cody Parkey in the first game. Let's document him on his previous games. I have been really pleased with him. I have always said that he is a pro's pro. Colquitt, he has been in the league a long time. He is a good football player, a great guy and a true pro. The other guy who doesn't get any credit or talked about really is (long snapper) Charley (Hughlett), our long snapper. Here is a guy who because he snaps so efficiently, Colquitt when we hold the ball, we don't have to move the laces around or anything. It is catch and put down, and that is a big comfort. When you get a new kicker, one of the first things he said is, 'Wow, our snapper and holder are really good.' I said, 'Yeah, go to work.' All of those things and they work well together. I have been pleased with them and hope they continue to get better." — special teams coordinator Chris Tabor

Low point

Week 3 in Miami. Roughly 24 hours after joining the Browns, Cody Parkey was thrown into the fire and asked to kick six field goals having not yet worked with long snapper Charley Hughlett or holder/punter Britton Colquitt. Parkey went 3-of-6 and missed a potential game-winner in that overtime loss to the Dolphins.

High point

The very next week, Parkey bounced back in Washington. He made both of his field goals, including a 51-yarder in a loss to the Redskins. In fact, since that bumpy debut in Miami, Parkey made 17 of his final 19 kicks.

Surprise, surprise

With the return game struggling, the Browns signed wide receiver Mario Alford in December in hopes of giving the unit a much-needed boost. Alford, who spent time with Jackson in Cincinnati, immediately had an impact, touching the ball 8 times for 190 yards (24 yards an attempt). He also fielded eight punt returns for 68 yards.

Outlook for 2017

What was a new-look unit this past season hopefully enters 2017 with some familiar faces. Both head coach Hue Jackson and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor made it clear that Parkey earned the right to take the Browns' kicker job into the offseason; long snapper Charley Hughlett is set to return for his fourth season; and Mario Alford seems poised to take over most of the team's returning duties. With Britton Colquitt set to become an unrestricted free agent, though, Cleveland might have to address its punter situation this spring.   ​

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