The Cleveland Browns' defense took a major hit on Saturday, August 4 as linebacker Chris Gocong was writhing in agony on the practice field. Unfortunately after some tests, it was discovered he would be done for the season after injuring his right Achilles tendon. The injury will require surgery.
Cleveland is already faced with the issue of linebacker Scott Fujita slated to miss the first three games of the season because of his involvement with the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal. Gocong's injury will mean the Browns will open the season without three primary starters on defense, as lineman Phil Taylor is not expected back until midseason due to a torn pectoral muscle.
Reserves Kaluka Maiava and Craig Robertson along with rookies James-Michael Johnson and L.J. Fort will likely see more work, as the team gets ready for the exhibition season. The Browns may also look outside the team if needed as well especially as cuts begin to be made as camps progress this month.
Luckily the Browns still have linebacker D'Qwell Jackson who led the team in tackles (158) by a total of 75 over runner-up, defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin (83). Gocong recorded 70 tackles on the season last year.
Maiava logged 34 tackles for the Browns last season while Roberson failed to record any statistics last season. In 2011 with the University of North Texas, Robertson logged 133 tackles, two sacks, and an interception. Johnson had 95 tackles and 1.5 sacks with Nevada last season while Fort logged three interceptions with Northern Iowa last year.
One thing that is known is that past history does not equal future performance. While Maiava appears to be the man to step in due to the most experience, it could be Johnson who steps up once exhibition season begins. If nothing else, the position battle in camp just got that much more interesting.
Fans can look at Gocong's injury one of two ways. On the bright side they are forced to replace a guy who was partially responsible for ranking 30th in the league in rushing yards allowed. At the same time the Browns don't exactly have a lot of depth at any position to have the luxury of replacing anyone. Any way you look at it the injury is not good news for the Browns.
More Cleveland Browns Commentary from Paul Rados:
All data provided by NFL.com
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Cleveland Browns
- Chris Gocong
- the Browns
- Kaluka Maiava