Priefer says Gillan couldn’t make excuses for a failed kick


CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Browns dominated their opener against the Kansas City Chiefs the entire first half. And then the self-inflicted injuries escalated, and the Chiefs, a team you have to play almost perfectly to have a chance to beat, capitalized on those mistakes, beating the Browns 33-29.

The real turning point came with Cleveland’s first punt attempt.

With just under nine minutes to go, Jamie Gillan fumbled for the ball on a precisely placed snap, missing a clear shot to hit the field. Despite his trial and error, Gillan appeared to have plenty of time to punt, albeit likely short and inaccurate. Instead, he chose to run the ball.

With just four yards to the rush, the Chiefs took the ball off the Browns’ 25-yard line, and fans around the world watching the game knew how it was likely to end. Their fears were well founded. Three games later, the Chiefs took the lead for the first time all night with a touchdown reception from Travis Kelce. After failing the two-point conversion attempt, the Browns fell behind in what would be the final score.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski said Gillan had had time to punt, and they approached the game.

“Yes he could have, and he knows it. We talked to him about it at the time, and we talked to him about it today. Obviously, he knows he has a job to do. We expect him to do his job at a high standard. If something like that happens, you just have to get the ball back to hit it, and he knows it, ”Stefanski said on Monday after the loss.

These conversations also took place with special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, who said that while the crowd was incredibly loud at Arrowhead Stadium, it had nothing to do with the mistake.

“Did he look away from him? I don’t know. I don’t think the timing was too big for him, I don’t think the crowd was involved,” Priefer said. “He’s not a rookie. If he was a rookie and it was his first play, maybe. But he’s got plenty of time… We blocked him, and they got a look back, but he has to pick it up, take a step and pull it out of there, and it hasn’t reacted like we asked, like we wanted. “

The special teams coordinator also noted that the team practices punters and shots on goal with the JUGS machine about twice a week, so fumbling for the ball on a snap is less likely. But while they’ve discussed the less-than-ideal scenarios that could happen on a punt, like the one we saw with Gillan on Sunday, they’re not doing a practical job with mistakes like that.

“I don’t like training to fail,” said Priefer. “We’re talking about it. We could go through it, but we never want to practice this exact situation because to me you practice an abandoned snap. You practice failure. Are we talking about these things? different situations.

This team is not the type to look for excuses, which is why Stefanski and Priefer do not hide the error. But all is not dark for the Scottish Hammer after the mistake, and the team are not giving up on him because of it.

Priefer said Gillan had “good hands” and showed him as a reliable start for the Browns, and that the mistake, described as “inexplicable” did not make him lose confidence in his punter. He said Gillan and the whole team were “devastated” when this happened.

“Devastated. We were all. We were all for him and for our football team,” said Priefer.

After the escaped snap, Priefer refrained from saying anything to Gillan, unwilling to shake his confidence with plenty of game still to play. On the plane back to Cleveland, Gillan and Priefer discussed the timing and Gillan refused to apologize.

“He’s not an excuse maker. He’s a standing guy, and he knows he has to perform at a high level and continue to be a weapon for our football team, and it starts this Sunday.” , said Priefer.

Gillan will look to bounce back and prove his talent once again inside FirstEnergy Stadium as the Browns take on the Houston Texans in the home opener in 2021.

Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.

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