Browns Make Decisive Final Call on Future of Chase McLaughlin

Getty Images Chase McLaughlin of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns parted ways with one specialist this week, but kicker Chase McLaughlin’s job is safe — for now.

McLaughlin is on the hot seat, going just 15-of-21 on his field goal attempts this season. He has missed a kick in five of the last six games, going 4-of-9 over that stretch, including a key missed kick against the Raiders on Monday that could have been the difference loss.

After a vague response earlier in the week about McLaughlin’s recent stretch, head coach Kevin Stefanski gave a clear cut answer when asked if the team was going to make a change.

“Chase is our kicker. I told you guys the other day, he has high expectations for himself, we expect him when he is out there to make his kicks and we are counting on him, and I think he knows that,” Stefanski told reporters on Wednesday, December 22.

The Browns have a crucial stretch left and need to make their kicks in close games. While McLaughlin is in a slump, the Browns are ready to roll with him and hope things turn around.

Browns Part Ways With P Jamie Gillan

Kevin Stefanski: "We're on a short week so we really have to go full speed versus the Packers"Kevin Stefanski addresses the media December 22nd, 2021. #BrownsMedia #PressConference2021-12-22T19:32:35Z

The Browns did part ways with punter Jamie Gillan on Wednesday after he was activated off the COVID-19 reserve list. The team is instead sticking with veteran Dustin Colquitt, who came aboard when Gillan was unavailable.

“Dustin did a nice job. I am disappointed for Jamie – I spoke to Jamie – but that is part of this business so he understands that,” Stefanski told reporters.

Gillan struggled to find his footing this season, ranking near the bottom of the league in most major categories. He won the job as an undrafted rookie 2019, beating out veteran incumbent Britton Colquitt — Dustin’s brother.

However, “The Scottish Hammer” did not start his year off on the best foot, failing to flip the field with his kicks and making a couple of costly mistakes in big spots. Gillan somewhat recovered from the slow start, averaging 43.9 yards per punt — still the worst number of his career. He’s landed just 15 punts inside of the 20-yard line.

Colquitt brings a wealth of experience to the table, with a pair of Pro Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl to his name. Colquitt became available when he was released by the Falcons and the browns quickly scooped him up. He punted 23 times in six games for a career-high 47.7 average while in Atlanta.

Colquitt is averaging 42.4 yards per punt in two games with the Browns. It’s not the most impressive number, but his ability to execute situationally set him apart from Gillan.

Browns Lose CB Greg Newsome After Positive Test

While the Browns got some good news with tight end Austin Hooper, linebacker Jacob Phillips and head coach Kevin Stefanski coming off the reserve/COVID-19 list, the team lost cornerback Greg Newsome to the protocols.

“It is disappointing when we do not have our guys for any reason,” Stefanski said of Newsome, who is also dealing with lingering effects of a concussion. “You do not want anybody to get injured, and you do not want anybody to get sick. Certainly, not looking for anybody to go on that list. Greedy stepped up. He has done that throughout the season when called upon, and we will continue to call upon him this week, as well.”

The Browns are a 7.5-point underdog to the Packers this week for a must-win matchup.

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