KC Chiefs vs. Browns: Underrated storylines heading into Week 1

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 03: Chase McLaughlin #3 of the New York Jets celebrates a PAT against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on January 3, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 03: Chase McLaughlin #3 of the New York Jets celebrates a PAT against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on January 3, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images) /
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MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – DECEMBER 06: Chase McLaughlin #3 of the Jacksonville Jaguars kicks the extra point after a touchdown from teammate D.J. Chark #17 in the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 06, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – DECEMBER 06: Chase McLaughlin #3 of the Jacksonville Jaguars kicks the extra point after a touchdown from teammate D.J. Chark #17 in the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 06, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) /

Some kicking uncertainty

For the Chiefs, the kicking game is as accurate as any other, with Harrison Butker known for being able to convert basically anything and everything. For the Browns, they were still trying to situate the position as recently as a couple weeks ago.

Cody Parkey held down the job kicking for the Browns last season, but an injured quadriceps injury in late August put him out of the picture with an injury settlement. Meanwhile, Chase McLaughlin, who’d been added for some kicking competition back in May after being claimed on waivers from the New York Jets, is now the man for Cleveland… that is, until he’s not.

The Browns are keeping rookie Chris Naggar on the practice squad, so it’s clear to all—McLaughlin included—that he’s got a short leash on this Browns team expecting big things this season. That puts a lot of pressure on the leg of a guy who is with his eighth different NFL franchise since entering the league as a rookie free agent in 2019. (Seriously, there are even two stints with the Vikings here to go with the Bills, Chargers, 49ers, Colts, Jags, and Jets.)

Will this come into play at Arrowhead Stadium? McLaughlin will likely hope not—unless he’s really ready to finally settle into a long-term role.