Training Camp

News & Notes: Mike Priefer, Freddie Kitchens not worried about kicking competition early in training camp

Mike Priefer didn't hesitate when he answered arguably the biggest Browns special teams question that has arisen after seven days of training camp.

Kickers Greg Joseph and Austin Seibert have traded up-and-down performances thus far, but the special teams coordinator believes the field goal hiccups will settle with each practice.

"I know we have the right two kickers in camp, and one of them is going to win the job," Priefer said. "I think they are both pretty mentally tough. Although they are young, I think they have done a pretty good job after misses coming back and making the next one, … and we have been trying to put them in these situations since the spring. I think the more pressure type situations we put them in, we got to see if they can handle."

Kitchens will continue to give the kickers plenty of opportunities to move ahead of one another for the starting job during practice scrimmages. The most ideal scenarios for evaluating them, however, won't come until preseason games begin.

"These guys continue to compete," Kitchens said. "Competing is on them. I'll continue to do my job and Priefer will continue to do his job and put them in situations where they can demonstrate how much better they've gotten."

Check out photos from the seventh day of Browns Camp by team photographer Matt Starkey

— Kitchens wants the Browns to continue practicing with the same high physicality that has been a theme since padded practices began Saturday. Kitchens doesn't want players to only receive hard hits and make difficult tackles when the Browns begin preseason games, so expect the Browns to continue contact in training camp.

"We're not just out there for our health," Kitchens said. "We're out there trying to get something accomplished. You're trying to develop a mentally and physically strong, tough-minded, battle-tested football team before you get to the games that actually count. 

"I don't know any other way to do it. I really don't. I know that football is a game about being physical and tough-minded. That's the only way I know about doing that."

— Kitchens is pleased with how backup quarterbacks Drew Stanton, Garrett Gilbert and David Blough have impressed in camp. Stanton, who has 12 years of NFL experience, has been the No. 2 quarterback behind Baker Mayfield, but Gilbert and Blough have progressively improved from Kitchens' perspective.

"I feel very good about (the backup quarterback situation)," Kitchens said. "I feel very good about all four of those guys. All three of the backups are continuing to get better."

— The Browns will head to FirstEnergy Stadium for the first time of the season Saturday for their Orange and Brown Scrimmage. The practice will start at 4 p.m. and conclude around 6 p.m.

"We're going to the stadium to get some work done, not to put on a show," Kitchens said.

Genard Avery (ankle), Seth DeValve (concussion), Trayone Gray (calf-NFI), Demetrius Harris (concussion), Kareem Hunt  (groin-NFI), Duke Johnson Jr. (hamstring), Damion Ratley (hamstring), Sheldon Richardson (abdomen), Chad Thomas (illness) and Olivier Vernon (hamstring) did not practice Thursday.

The annual Orange & Brown Scrimmage will take place on August 3rd at FirstEnergy Stadium. Click for information and tickets.

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