The Browns made a swift change at kicker.
Before Zane Gonzalez could miss another kick.
They held tryouts Monday morning, picked rookie Greg Joseph, signed him and waived Gonzalez. All within 24 hours of Gonzalez’s last of four misses Sunday in a 21-18 loss to the Saints.
The Browns host the Jets on Thursday night.
“Obviously we have to find someone that can put the ball through the uprights,” coach Hue Jackson said on a conference call. “We have had this situation happen now for a couple of weeks.”
Joseph, 24, is an undrafted rookie out of Florida Atlantic University. He spent the preseason with the Dolphins, lost a competition with Jason Sanders and was waived.
Joseph (6-foot, 208 pounds) was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He played one year of football in high school in Florida.
He kicked for four years at FAU, making 57 of 82 field goals (69.5 percent) and 165 of 170 extra points (97.1 percent). As a senior, he went 15-for-21 on field goals (71.4 percent) and 64-for-68 on extra points (94.1 percent).
“We felt real good about his workout. He did an excellent job,” Jackson said. “A young player, he has the chance hopefully to be very consistent as we move forward. He has a strong leg obviously, too.”
Gonzalez, a seventh-round pick in 2017, was a central figure in the 0-1-1 start. His potential winning field goal attempt from 43 yards at the end of overtime in the opener was low and blocked and ensured a tie with Pittsburgh.
The disaster inside New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome sealed his fate. He missed four straight kicks in the second half, including a 44-yard field goal, an extra point with 1:16 left and a 52-yard field goal with eight seconds left that would’ve forced overtime.
“I had more than enough opportunities,” Gonzalez said after the game. “Let the team down, let the city down and it’s on me. I take full responsibility for it.”
ESPN reported Gonzalez kicked with a groin injury. He wasn’t listed on the injury report either week.
“I did not know and nobody had ever reported to me from our medical department that Zane was hurt,” Jackson said.
Gonzalez struggled to start his rookie year but rallied a bit and finished 15-for-20 on field goals and 25-for-26 on extra points.
NFL Network reported veteran Blair Walsh and Cairo Santos were part of the workout. Santos kicked for Browns general manager John Dorsey in Kansas City.
Given Gonzalez’s struggles Sunday, Jackson was asked if he considered trying a 2-point conversion after the tying touchdown with 1:16 left.
“The kicker’s job is to make extra points and to make field goals,” he said. “Always a day after you will think through a lot of different scenarios, but I thought we played it the best we could in real time yesterday.”
** What about trying another play with eight seconds left to hopefully move the ball closer than a 52-yard field goal?
“It would have been really tough. We felt that it normally takes 10-12 seconds to pull that off to where we felt we would have a chance,” he said.
** Jackson didn’t use any of his first-half timeouts. He chose not to stop the clock after the Saints got the ball back with 1:55 left. They went three-and-out, punted and the Browns took over at their 9-yard line with 38 seconds left. They ran twice for 4 yards.
“I would rather have the timeouts and be able to have them when we have the ball,” he said.
The Browns had to file an injury report, including estimated participation if they had practiced.
Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle), linebacker Christian Kirksey (shoulder/ankle), free safety Damarious Randall (heel) and tight end Seth DeValve (hamstring) were listed as did not practice. Defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun (hamstring), left tackle Desmond Harrison (shoulder), receiver Jarvis Landry (knee) and cornerback Denzel Ward (hamstring) were listed as limited.
Ogbah, Kirksey and DeValve didn’t play against the Saints.
“We have the normal mix, but it is too early of anything that might impact the game on Thursday,” Jackson said.
ON THE VERGE
Coming off a winless season, the Browns have a frustrating tie and excruciating loss. Jackson was asked how the team can learn to win.
“I will tell you one thing, we have been though the process,” Jackson said. “There was a time where we were not close, so we are close. I feel good about the next hurdle for us — just go do it. That is what we have to do.”