Ethan Pocic Injury Shows Why Center Position Is Vital To Successful Offense

Ethan Pocic Injury Shows Why Center Position Is Vital To Successful Offense

Mac Blank
1 year ago
2 min read
Cleveland Browns center Ethan Pocic runs out of tunnel ahead of game against the Cincinnati Bengals

It’s now Week 16 for the Browns and even though they have a .4 percent chance to make the playoffs, the team proved with a tight 13-3 win over the Ravens that they aren’t ready to give up

Wins Are Great, But Offense Is Still Jumping Over Hurdles

The win continues their stretch of good play, but all facets of the offense seem overwhelmed and non-effective, including the always bright spot that is the running game. While there’s not just a sole reason the strongest part of the team is as flat as an un-arched foot, Ethan Pocic suffering a knee injury against the Bills back in Week 11 has devastated this offense.

This isn’t the first time Browns fans have seen a center’s injury affect their whole offense. In 2014, the Browns offense started off red hot as they eclipsed over 350 total yards five out of the first six weeks. 

Late in the fourth quarter in Week 6, their pro bowl center Alex Mack broke his leg and days later would be declared out for the season. In the next 11 games for the Browns, they would only achieve 350 or more yards in a game a mere three times. A team that was averaging 146 rushing yards a game would only hit that mark twice for the rest of the season. With that, the play action game was no longer a threat because of how easy it was to stop the run game

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Past Seems To Be The Present

Fast forward eight years later and we are now seeing the exact same situation play out. Between the limited upside of journeyman Jacoby Brissett and Deshaun Watson still shaking off the cobwebs, this offense has had to rely on the run game to really open things up for this team. 

After the injury, total rushing yards per game for the Browns went from an average of 158 yards to 131 and the offense as a whole is now scoring an average of one less touchdown per game, going from an average of 2.6 touchdowns to 1.6. Nick Chubb’s production has been affected the most, as he has had his worst stretch of games in his career since Pocic has been off the field. 

Up until Pocic’s injury, Chubb had averaged the highest yards per carry in his career at 5.65, and the past four games his average has nearly been cut in half as he’s only getting 3.7 yards per attempt. 

The Browns have yet to give a timetable on Ethan Pocic returning from IR, but if healthy enough, he is eligible to return this season.

If his season truly is over, this leaves the next three games as an evaluation for backup center Hjalte Froholdt. 

While his play hasn’t been great the past few weeks, this year is the first time in his playing career he has played the position. Hopefully Kevin Stefanski and company can scheme around this weakness to make one last push towards a winning season and possible playoff appearance. 

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