The Cleveland Browns have a different look this year. For starters, the top four areas of coaching are all new: head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator
There has also been an influx of new – and hopefully better – players this year as well; and every season, there seems to be several athletes who somehow impress in training camp and stick as members of the final 53-man roster. This also mandates that for every player that is a new Brown that another now-former Brown must depart.
Which dictates job losses. Who might be leaving because of the new guys? In no particular order, let’s look:
Tight end Demetrius Harris
When the Browns signed Demetrius Harris as a free agent from the Kansas City Chiefs, he was viewed as a veteran presence to an already weak blocking unit. And he is one of general manager John Dorsey’s guys with his time spent with the Chiefs mainly to be the blocking tight end.
But so far Harris has been a big disappointment.
Harris is not the “tackle light” blocking tight end he is supposed to be, and has had issues with penalties at crucial portions of the game. Admittedly, he is a huge presence in the red zone with his 6-foot-7 and 230-pound frame. And as a former basketball player, he knows how to get up and snag a ball. But every other part of his game so far has been inconsistent and regretful. Dropping Harris would allow the Browns to retain Pharaoh Brown instead.
Defensive end Anthony Zettel
The former sixth-round choice of the Detroit Lions came to the Browns via a waiver claim last September. Zettel played in 15 games in 2018 with zero starts. This preseason he has played sparingly in an attempt to secure a backup spot mainly behind Myles Garrett. But Wyatt Ray has played better and has contributed more as a pass rusher than Zettel.
In three preseason games, Zettel has netted just two solo tackles and one assist. He has the ability to move inside on certain packages, but with the emergence of defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence that takes away that option. Even second-year defensive end Chad Thomas is having a better preseason.
Kicker Greg Joseph
After the second preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts, head coach Freddie Kitchens acted like he wasn’t sure if either Joseph or rookie Austin Seibert were going to be the kicker for the Browns this year. After a sterling four-of-four performance for Seibert against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday, all doubts appear to be answered whether the college football all-time leading scorer is indeed the answer.
Both kickers have good range, but Seibert has two things that distance himself from Joseph: 1) he has a consistently longer kickoff distance, and 2) he is a fifth-round draft choice. Rarely do clubs cut their draft picks in their rookie campaign, and hardly ever does a team waste a fifth-round selection.
Seibert’s dead center 54-yard field goal against the Bucs ended this competition.
Offensive lineman Austin Corbett
When the Browns traded talented right guard Kevin Zeitler to the New York Giants for defensive end Olivier Vernon, everyone who viewed the trade either praised or doomed the transaction. Against the Bucs, Vernon showed why the trade was a positive for the Browns. But at the same time, the lack of execution of the offensive line shows that Zeitler is indeed missed.
At the beginning of training camp, almost everybody had inserted Corbett as the next man up for Zeitler’s vacant right guard spot. Instead, the former second-round draft pick has struggled to remain on the second team much less take over any starting position.
In all likelihood, the Browns will keep nine offensive linemen. Corbett is currently battling for the backup center spot and appears to be very unnatural at this position. Plus, his holding calls have hurt the offense. Rookie Drew Forbes is having a very good camp and is a cheaper alternative as a backup guard than Corbett.
Wide receiver Antonio Callaway
Even though Antonio Callaway is a special talent and will begin the season on the suspended list for four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, the Browns and their fans don’t want another Josh Gordon sideshow event.
Callaway came to the Browns as drama and will leave as added drama. Dorsey will not simply cut the receiving threat, but will find a suitable trade partner before his suspension is complete. Coach Freddie Kitchen has stated that the club will not tolerate these senseless distractions.
The unit with the most talent this year is the wide receiver spot. Callaway showed up for camp out of shape and was mostly regulated to the second-team despite Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry not playing. The term “training camp” came from when players worked a second job during the off-season and used camp to get into shape, but not in today’s NFL.
If the Browns keep Callaway once he returns from his suspension that means they have to waive a player such as Damion Ratley, Ishmael Hyman or D.J. Montgomery. The result is a trade. In the NFL you can’t fix knucklehead, but you can ship him to another team.
Have your say, Browns fans – who do you think is in danger of not making the final roster and why?