The Cleveland Browns have brought in a new kicker, signing Chris Blewitt to the practice squad on Wednesday.
Originally signed by Chicago as an undrafted free agent in 2019, Blewitt made his NFL debut this season and appeared in two games with Washington. He converted 2 of 5 field goal attempts with a long of 52 and made both PATs. He also spent time on Washington’s practice squad this season.
The Browns are currently looking for a solution at the kicker position with Chase McLaughlin still not off the reserve/COVID-19. And McLaughlin didn’t exactly inspire confidence during the second half of the season.
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. Despite his struggles, Stefanski backed McLaughlin for the gig before he tested positive and missed the game against the Ravens.
“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.
Kicking Game Played Large Role Against Packers
Chris Naggar took over while McLaughlin was out. He made his only field goal attempt but was just 1-of-2 on his extra point attempts.
The Browns had a chance to win the game late and the idea of the team needing to get close to be comfortable appeared to play a role in the play-calling, with Cleveland turning to the pass more than the run.
“I would not characterize it as ‘lack of confidence.’ I would just tell you, I think to be fair to Chris in that type of game, did not want to attempt a long field goal with the game in the balance,” Stefanski told reporters on Monday, December 27. “We wanted to go score a touchdown – something that we had done throughout that game moving the ball. Certainly, if it came down to a field goal, he is our kicker, and we have confidence in him, but our mentality was not just to get the ball to the 35 or the 40 and attempt a long field goal.”
Browns Preparing for Must-Win Matchup Against Steelers
The Browns are in must-win mode the rest of the way, which begins with the Steelers on Monday Night Football.
“I think it is going to be a playoff atmosphere,” Browns cornerback Denzel Ward told reporters. “That is the type of game that it is. We need to go in there and focus all on Pittsburgh, and we have to go in there and find a way to get a win. I know it is going to be a crazy atmosphere, though.”
On top of needing to win, the Browns also need some help. They need the Ravens and Bengals to lose their Week 17 matchups against the Rams and Chiefs, respectively. If everything falls into place, the Browns would win the AFC North and punch their ticket back to the playoffs for a second consecutive year.