The Cleveland Browns announced today that they have waived punter T.J. Conley. Conley was a starter for the New York Jets for all of 2011, but did not have a job in the regular season in 2012. The Browns signed Conley this offseason to compete with Spencer Lanning to see who would be Reggie Hodges' replacement. Right now, it looks like the job is going to Lanning.
The news may not be a big surprise to fans. When we did our training camp preview in July asking who fans thought would be the Browns' starting punter, an overwhelming 94% of fans cast their vote in support of Lanning. Part of the reason is that Lanning has been associated with special teams coordinator Chris Tabor for awhile. In 2011, Lanning was with the Chicago Bears in training camp, back when Tabor was an assistant with the Bears. Lanning competed against Hodges in 2012. This year, he entered as the favorite.
Once camp started, things got a little murky in terms of who would win the job. Lanning seemed to have a slight edge over Conley, but he wasn't dominating the competition by any means. It was to the point where I really thought the competition could go either way. Conley suffered a groin injury after the first preseason game, though, which allowed Lanning to be the sole punter against the Lions last week. He did a fair job against Detroit, and it's possible that the coaching staff had seen enough after that.
There is still a competition at kicker, and Shayne Graham might be the favorite to win the job over Brandon Bogotay for similar reasons. Bogotay hurt his groin against the Lions, and has been ruled out for this week's game against the Colts.