The Cleveland Browns took a hit on the offensive line on Monday with the announcement that starting center Ethan Pocic will miss several weeks with a knee injury.
Pocic was injured on the first offensive play of Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills and on Monday Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski said that Pocic will now be out for an extended period of time, according to numerous media reports.
Center Ethan Pocic is out "weeks" with a knee injury, per Kevin Stefanski #Browns— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) November 21, 2022
It is a tough blow for Pocic who has been having a great season after stepping in for starter Nick Harris, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason. Pocic is currently the No. 2 center out of 38 ranked by Pro Football Focus with an overall grade of 83. That is also the second-best along Cleveland’s offensive line, trailing just left guard Joel Bitonio’s 88.4.
The next man up at the center position will be Hjalte Froholdt, who took over after Pocic went out on Sunday and had a rough go of it with some bad snaps and poor blocking that led to a PFF grade of just 48.3 on the day.
It was a tough spot for Froholdt to jump into the game without much preparation, Bionio said after the game (quote via News5 Cleveland):
“I don’t think he’s gotten really any reps (at center) with the starters. Maybe on the scout team and stuff he’s done a little bit. But it’s tough. I thought he did a good job, obviously there was an exchange issue and stuff like that. But no, it’s tough. I was the next center up and I was like ‘I don’t know if I’ll be ready for this. I haven’t done that since like my freshman year of high school.’ I’ve snapped before practice, after practice, stuff like that. But not in a game situation, it’s a little different.”
The one thing that Froholdt has going for him is offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who is possibly the best in the business, and has worked wonders with the offensive line during his time in Cleveland.
Give Callahan a week of work with Froholdt and the situation may not look as bad as it feels right now come next week’s home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.