The Browns’ special teams could look far different in 2013.
At the very least, Cleveland will have a new placekicker, as Phil Dawson signed with the 49ers. What’s more, punter Reggie Hodges is an unrestricted free agent, as is returner /all-around special-teams standout Joshua Cribbs.
According to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, the Browns worked out a pair of kickers with some NFL preseason experience on Friday — Thomas Weber, who has spent time with the Bengals; and Derek Dimke, who had a summer stint with the Lions. However, Ulrich reports that the club isn’t expected to add either kicker right now.
At present, the Browns don’t have a single kicker under contract, and they don’t have a punter with regular-season experience on the roster.
There are still several capable veteran placekickers available, with Steven Hauschka, Lawrence Tynes and Shayne Graham three notable options. The UFA punter market, however, has thinned. The draft is always a possibility; note that in Browns CEO Joe Banner’s last full season in Philadelphia in 2011, the Eagles went with rookies at punter and kicker.
The Browns have had some real lean seasons since last making the postseason way back in 2002, but in recent times, their special teams have usually been an asset, and Dawson, Cribbs and some solid coverage players had much to do with it. However, with a new coaching staff and executive team in place, changes could be coming to the Browns’ kicking game.
The question is, how will the Browns proceed?