Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski handed the Cleveland Browns kicking job over to rookie Cade York sight practically unseen.
There was no competition for the rookie even in preseason, and no veteran teammate with whom to talk through matters.
It’s easy to think the youngster feels mighty alone, especially after a bad kicking game like he had last weekend.
Support isn’t coming from his special teams coordinator either.
In what can best be described as a tough love moment, Mike Priefer was blunt when asked about York’s misses against the Ravens.
“NFL kickers shouldn’t kick balls like that. There’s no excuse,” said Priefer.
#Browns special teams coordinator Mike Priefer on Cade York's ugly miss low and left: NFL kickers shouldn't kick balls like that. No excuse for that.
— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) December 21, 2022
Never mind that the finest kicker in NFL history also hooked a kick wide left and had another blocked on a day with shifting winds.
Priefer, who vouched for York before the draft and whose job status is more than a little shaky, had none of it.
York Appears To Be On His Own
It is hard to discern if any coach or teammate spends real time with York during the week.
His holder and long-snapper might offer advice, but they are not kickers.
York met Phil Dawson in training camp, but the former Browns’ great was not with the team in any official capacity.
Veteran kickers like to be left alone, maybe looking at some film when they hit a slump.
— Scott Spratt (@Scott_Spratt) September 11, 2022
But a rookie who has known nothing but success at the high school and college levels might need a peer to talk with.
On Saturday, York followed up a brutal shank that hooked left by pushing a kick to the right just 6 minutes later.
It appeared to be a classic case of over-compensating for a perceived error.
And it is the type of thing good coaches would warn a young kicker about before the second attempt.
Who Is More Likely to Be with The 2023 Browns?
Cleveland drafted York in the 4th round of the 2022 NFL Draft on high recommendations from Priefer and others.
His record at LSU was stellar, including a legendary game-winning 57-yard field goal into fog against a top-10 Florida team.
And when he started his NFL career with a 58-yard game-winning field goal as time expired, expectations soared.
Since that magical debut, York has missed a few big kicks, including game-winners and game-padders like last weekend’s.
It's crazy to nail a 57-yarder to win the game. But in the fog, at The Swamp, against a top-ten team….wow. Here is another look from three angles of the Cade York game-winner last night. What a win for @LSUfootball over @GatorsFB. pic.twitter.com/f20hpHzAqz
— The Spirit Media Network (@SpiritMediaMS) December 13, 2020
York’s 22/30 field goal rate of 73.3% ranks dead last across the NFL at the moment.
But Dawson started his career with a 67% rookie season and went on to become kind of a big deal in Cleveland.
And Cleveland kept Chase McLaughlin and his 72% field goal rate around all last season.
With some technical and emotional support beyond blunt condemnation, York is certainly a salvageable young kicker.