Cleveland Browns: Talkin 'Kareem Hunt, Special Teams – Terry Pluto



Shortly after Brown's signing of Kareem Hunt, some people wondered if it meant that the Browns would trade Duke Johnson.

After all, Hunt would give the Browns three running backs, the others being Nick Chubb and Johnson.

Oh man.

This is a valid question, assuming that:

1. Hunt does not have a long suspension.

2. Hunt does not have any problems anymore.

Both are huge assumptions.

The domestic violence penalty is supposed to be at least a suspension of six games. Even before Hunt signed with the Browns last Monday, I had heard that he was facing a suspension of at least 10 games.

That's because the league was looking at at least two more "incidents" in addition to Hunt's video hitting and striking a woman in Cleveland last year.

There were three incidents between February and December 2018. Most of them appeared to be related to alcoholism and physical altercations. Hunt is now on the "Exemption List", which means he can not participate in any team training session until the NFL has completed his investigation.

Browns general manager John Dorsey was questioned about having three half-offensives at the press conference announcing Hunt's signature:

"Duke Johnson is a great football player. But what this does is that you have three qualities … actually four quality people. You now have three veterans. I do not think it makes [Johnson] Consumable again. What you need to do is to go back and look for your options and see what is best for the business. "

The fourth back cited by Dorsey is Dontrell Hilliard.

I've already written a column against Hunt's signature. But now that he's with the Browns, it's not wise to write it in the team's plans until he's actually eligible to play.

Even then, it's a gamble to rely on him in the long run. Because another incident could result in a much more serious suspension.

Yes, Browns have deep backs:

1. As a rookie, Chubb ran for 996 yards (5.2 average) and eight touchdowns. He started only eight games.

2. Johnson has rushed for 201 yards (5.0 on average) and has caught 47 passes. I still think it's underutilized, especially as a catch-pass.

3. Johnson has signed an extension of $ 15.6 million over three years, starting in 2019, according to Overthecap, com. But he received about $ 7 million in 2018. At the end of the contract – 2021 – his salary ceiling is set at 2021 and he does not seem to be guaranteed.

4. Hilliard was a Tulane rookie last season and mainly played in special teams.

5. Hunt did a Pro Bowl. He has accumulated 2131 yards (average of 4.7) in 21 games for Kansas City. He is an elite back.

But many things have to go well for Hunt to be a factor in 2019 for the Browns. That's why I'll keep the halves. None of them was injured last season, but injuries occur.

New Cleveland Browns special team coach Mike Priefer seems intrigued by kicker Greg Joseph. Photo of John Kuntz / John Kuntz

About the special teams

1. There are several places that evaluate special teams. One of them is Profootballfocus, which ranked Minnesota fourth in 2018 and ranked first in 2017. The Browns were ranked 32nd (2018) and 23rd (2017).

2. The Browns have hired Mike Priefer, coach of the Minnesota special teams over the past eight seasons. The Vikings wanted to get it back. Other teams wanted to interview him to manage their special teams.

3. Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News) has established another respected special team evaluation system. He had Minnesota at No. 13 (Browns No. 30) in 2018. In 2017, it was Minnesota No. 23, Browns No. 27.

4. Yes, PFF had Minnesota at No. 1 in the same year 2017 that Gosselin had them at No. 23. So, these things sometimes vary enormously. What does not change is that the Browns regularly rank among the worst NFL special teams.

5. Priefer's Vikings had the least penalty for NFL special teams (7) last season. The Browns had 21. The Vikings also had the least penalty in special teams in 2017. As Priefer said, "We will play fast and play football without penalty."

6. The Browns and Bengals led the league with the most kicked and kicked (4). There was a general lack of discipline and blocking problems in the special teams. Dorsey hopes that Priefer will be able to solve this problem.

7. To a certain extent, a special team coach is at the mercy of his talent. The Vikings saw their kickers melt, like the Browns (since the departure of Phil Dawson in 2013).

8. At his press conference, Priefer congratulated kicker Greg Joseph: "I liked that Greg sort of college. This is a child with strong legs. He needs technical work, but there is something. I like what he brings to the table. At the end of the day, I think he has a chance to be pretty good. "

9. Do not forget this: a good team coach will always say good things about his kicker, even if he has difficulties. The task is difficult mentally and the kicker must know that his coach trusts him. In general, a coach of the special teams should show love for his kicker until the guy is no longer his kicker.

10. Joseph had a strange season. He missed more points (4) than goals in the field (3). He had 11 goals out of 11 in the first 40 minutes, including 6 out of 9 in the 40. The Brown will bring another kicker to compete with him.

11. The Browns like Britton Colquitt, their kicker of the last three seasons. He was a substitute for the Pro Bowl. They will also bring another bettor, but Colquitt's job seems secure. Same thing with long fighter Charley Hughlett – who also had four tackles in special teams.

Tavierre Thomas, Derrick Kindred and Tanner Vallejo were the best strikers on the special teams with seven players each. Then Nick Chubb, the rookie rookie who was part of the special teams at the beginning of the season before becoming a starter in the backfield.

13. Priefer's job will be to create a unit of young players and some veterans who take the job seriously. Dorsey has always had special teams ranked in the top 10 when he was in Kansas City, and he wants the same thing here.

14. The Browns think that they miss speed in secondary and the linebackers. This will be one of the off season priorities. Adding faster players to these positions should also help the special teams.

15. I will be speaking about Browns and other topics at Amherst Library (Feb. 21 at 6:30 pm) and Willowick Library (February 28 at 7 pm).

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