On-Field Observations

On-Field Observations: Kicking competition shifts into high gear with pressure kicks

On a muggy Monday in Berea, the Browns couldn’t simulate the pressure that comes with attempting a game-winning field goal in front of thousands of fans, but they tried the next-best thing.

With screaming players huddled around them and assistant defensive line coach Ken Delgado occasionally tossing his visor into the air, Zane Gonzalez and Ross Martin rotated through a session of five kicks apiece. Each kick was farther back than the previous, and the period culminated with attempts from 52 yards.

Gonzalez, the incumbent, nailed all five of his attempts. Martin hit two off the uprights, including his first attempt, and made the other three, including the longest one.

It’s a necessary exercise for the Browns, who can’t fully control how many attempts the kickers receive during their four preseason games. Through two, the Browns have attempted just one field goal -- a short one made by Martin -- and four extra points, all of which were good.

“The games are what matter,” Jackson said, “but that gives us an idea of what may happen in a game and we are able to practice it in that way.”

Browns practice in preparation for Thursday's game against the Eagles.

-- Jackson confirmed that wide receiver Josh Gordon, who returned to the team Saturday, would not be available for Thursday’s game. In the hypothetical situation in which Gordon would be physically prepared to play in the team’s preseason finale at Detroit, Jackson said he would not be opposed to playing the Pro Bowl receiver.

-- Jackson was understandably relieved when he learned defensive back E.J. Gaines’ knee injury was only a sprain. The veteran defensive back, who joined the Browns as a free agent in March, crumpled to the turf and was carted off the field Sunday.

Gaines, who typically worked with the second-team defense, is considered “week to week.” Denzel Rice worked in his spot Monday.

“We hope to get him back sooner,” Jackson said. “It sounds like we are going to get him back sooner rather than later. That is a good thing. If he is a fast healer, hopefully he will come back a little sooner. We will work through that.”

-- Wide receiver Antonio Callaway (groin) did not practice. He was sidelined midway through Sunday’s practice. Jackson said “we will see” when asked if Callaway’s status for Thursday’s game was in danger.

-- For a second consecutive practice, undrafted rookie Desmond Harrison worked as the second-team left tackle. Harrison missed the first two weeks of training camp with a toe injury he suffered during mini-camp. Greg Robinson, who was the previous second-team left tackle, has shifted to the right side.

“He is athletic, he is long, I think he worked extremely hard, he has got finish,” Jackson said of Harrison, who played at Texas before transferring to West Georgia. “I think he is a young tackle that has a promising future if he will keep working.”

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