Browns Veteran Losing Handle on Starting Job

Getty Images Head coach Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns.

Kicker Cody Parkey has not started training camp with the Cleveland Browns out on the right foot and is already losing significant ground to challenger Chase McLaughlin.

Browns reporter Scott Petrak of included some notes on the first field goal drill of camp, which did not go well for Parkey.

McLaughlin went 5-for-5, while Parkey made his first kick then missed the last four — wide left, off the right upright, wide right and wide left.

He wasn’t the only one to notice the struggles. ESPN’s Jake Trotter also noted that the field goal kicking was not great from Parkey.

“The FG kicking portion of practice was, uh, rough. Cody Parkey did not fare well, culminating with a chip-shot clang off the right upright. Field goal kicking always seems to be the adventure during Browns training camp, doesn’t it?”

The Browns claimed McLaughlin this offseason from the Jets to create a position battle. The well-traveled kicker was thought to be a major underdog, but has already made up some ground.

McLaughlin Has Not Been Able to Catch on in NFL

Mike Priefer: "We wanted to set the tone for training camp…and I believe we did that."Mike Priefer addressed the media via Zoom on June 16, 2021 after the final day of minicamp. #BrownsMedia #PressConference2021-06-17T19:00:18Z

McLaughlin was waived by the New York Jets earlier this offseason after joining the team in December following a short stint with the Jaguars. He kicked in one game with the Jets and made both of his extra-point attempts.

McLaughlin originally signed with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent out of Illinois in 2019. He’s also had stints with the Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Chargers, San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts. McLaughlin has made 78.6 percent of his field goal attempts (22 of 28) and 96.9 percent of his extra points (31 of 32) in the NFL.

“Chase is a young man who I really liked from Illinois a couple of years ago,” Browns special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said during minicamp. “He has bounced around the league, as you guys know. Chase provides great competition for Cody. They were very, very even this entire spring.

“It is going to be great competition. I think it is not so much field goals and PATs that probably take some more precedence, but kickoffs, as well. We need to improve our kickoffs, and the kicking part of our kickoffs needs to improve, as well.”

Parkey Was Not Outstanding for Browns Last Season

Getty ImagesKicker Cody Parkey of the Cleveland Browns.

Parkey was good, but not great last season after beating out former fifth-round pick Austin Seibert. Parkey hit on 19 of 22 field goal attempts and was 43 of 47 on extra points. The Browns inked him to a 1-year contract in March, although the team can get out of the deal with minor repercussions.

Priefer thinks that Parkey could be better this year with a more normal offseason, noting he looked stronger.

“Cody, we asked him to get stronger this offseason because last offseason, we had the virus, and he did not want to go to the weight room. His wife was pregnant at the time, and he did not want to jeopardize anything and nobody knew what was going on, and I do not blame him,” Priefer said. “I think he lost some of that strength so when he showed up for camp [last year], he was not quite as strong as he had been. He put on seven or eight pounds of muscle. He looks really good. He is stronger. He is kicking off better. He feels more confident. He still has a little bit of work to do, and he has positioned himself very well for this competition.”

We’ll see how everything ultimately plays out for the specialists, but Parkey needs to find his kicking rhythm in a hurry before falling behind too far.

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