Mike Priefer was able to joke about the misses Wednesday.
By the end of training camp, Priefer believes he’ll have a kicker in place who contributes toward making the Browns’ special teams no laughing matter.
The Browns’ new special teams coordinator likes what he has with his two options, Greg Joseph and rookie Austin Seibert. He’s already identified and helped fix a mechanical flaw in Joseph’s first jab step, and he viewed Seibert as the best kicker in this year’s draft class.
The next couple of months will determine who takes the reins at a position that’s been as fluid as any on Cleveland’s roster over the past few seasons.
“They are getting better as well,” Priefer said. “It is a work in progress but they are both very strong, very talented and I'm excited where they are at.
“It's going to be great competition between (Seibert) and Greg.”
Check out photos from the fifth day of OTA practices
Priefer was able to laugh a bit when he was asked about a practice last week in which Seibert and Joseph both sent a handful of kicks outside of the goal posts. It wasn’t a banner day for the duo, but it wasn’t reflective of the kind of back-and-forths they’ve had at other practices, he said. Plus, the Browns are breaking in a new holder, undrafted rookie punter Jamie Gillan, who also handled kicking duties -- therefore preventing him from ever holding -- for all four years at Arkansas Pine-Bluff.
"Where you guys were standing, I was trying to tell them to hit you guys with the ball. Just to make sure you guys were paying attention,” Priefer said. “We had him working in those situations and those reps. Missed a couple because the holds were not great, but they are getting better as well.”
Seibert comes to Cleveland after one of the most prolific kicking careers in college football history. Though he wasn’t tested a ton from long distance at Oklahoma, Seibert was as consistent as it gets, compiling an NCAA record 499 points over four seasons.
Priefer got to know Seibert on multiple occasions before the draft, including interviews at the NFL Combine and his Pro Day. Though he didn’t make the pick himself, Priefer gave it the strongest possible endorsement.
"Austin was the best kicker we felt coming out this year. He was the most experienced. He had we felt like the best leg,” Priefer said. “Had a couple of different interviews with him and really felt good about him and his mental approach to the game. Understanding his craft, how he works and how his body works and how he kicks the ball, (I) felt like he was the best option for us at the time.”
When he was introduced as Cleveland’s new special teams coordinator in February, Priefer said Joseph, who held down the Browns’ kicking duties for most of last season, needed “some technique work.” That work has unfolded behind the scenes over the past few months, and Priefer has noticed a more consistent approach.
Joseph, who was undrafted out of Florida Atlantic, was 17-of-20 on field goals and 25-of-29 on extra points.
“He was really inconsistent how he hit that first jab step and that's what I noticed off of game tape last year,” Priefer said. “It was a little bit when he was coming out of college a year ago. And he's much more consistent, much more effective now.”