As with all things Browns, failure is not enough by itself. It can never be simple. It must always be exquisite, and multipronged, and avoidable. The Cody Parkey saga, which saw Cleveland’s new kicker miss three field goals including a potential game-winner as time expired, is a great example.
1. Regular kicker Patrick Murray suffered a foot injury during Friday’s walk-through, which, OK, that’s not even close to being weird for this team, not in the scheme of things.
2. The Browns reached out to Cody Parkey, who’s had a short, interesting career. As an undrafted rookie in 2014, the Colts traded him to the Eagles and he won the starting job in camp, and went on to make the Pro Bowl. In Week 3 of his sophomore season, Parkey tore three groin muscles and went on season-ending IR. He tried to come back with the Eagles this summer, but was waived in camp.
I’m not quite clear on how this happened, but the Browns invited Parkey to their training facility in Ohio, but had to leave for Miami before they were able to watch him practice.
Sunday was the first day the Browns saw Parkey kick, head coach Hue Jackson said after the game. He flew to Berea but the Browns couldn’t kick him before getting on the plane and flying to Florida.
The Browns signed him anyway, on Saturday, before they ever saw him kick. He did kick during warm-ups before Sunday’s game, and Hue Jackson said those 20-25 reps were “enough.”
(Please note that Parkey wasn’t signed by the time the Browns flew down, so this screwball comedy went: Parkey flies to Ohio, Browns fly to Florida without Parkey, Parkey flies to Florida on his own, drives down to Miami for the game. “I was in Jupiter, Florida,” Parkey said. “So I was basically around here.”)
3. Parkey made field goals of 46, 48, and 38, and missed kicks of 41, 42, and the killer, a 46-yard miss that sent the game to overtime, where the Dolphins would win it. Those are all long kicks! This is what happens when your offense generally isn’t good enough to get any closer than that, let alone find the end zone. It’s definitely rough to be thrown into an NFL game without much in the way of practice, and be asked to attempt six kicks of nearly or greater than 40 yards. Gotta hit more than three of them, though.
4. Here’s the fun part. In his column, the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero wrote this:
(True story: After the game, league sources said Browns special teams coach Chris Tabor wanted his team to sign free agent kicker Robbie Gould on Friday when Cleveland’s first-string kicker Patrick Murray sustained a knee injury. But Browns management decided Gould is too expensive and so they went with Parkey — who practically single-handedly lost the game for them.)
The Browns directly responded to Salguero’s report this morning, with an unnamed team source speaking through the Akron Beacon Journal’s Nate Ulrich.
“Money played no role in the decision,” the Browns source said Monday morning. “It’s ridiculous to think that it would.”
Believe what you like. All I know is the photo at the top of this post shows two Dolphins dancing in the background as Parkey walks off after a missed kick.