The Browns offensive line continues to deal with injuries this season, as HC Kevin Stefanski announced on Monday that rookie T Dawand Jones will be out for the remainder of the season.
"Dawand Jones has a knee injury that's going to require surgery," Stefanski said. "So that will put him out for this season. Disappointed for Dawand, obviously, and he'll rehab, and we'll get him back. Tough for him, but next man up."
Jones replaced T Jack Conklin in Week 2 after he went down with a knee injury in the Browns' first game of the season. Jones played in 712 snaps this season, allowed three sacks and only had two penalties called on him.
"I've seen Dawand make great strides on and off the field," Stefanski said. "And I think we have a great room. That offensive line room, obviously, with the coaches, with the players. That's a room that is great for a young player to be in to see how you operate, how you prepare, how you work. And I thought he got better as the season went on. So, disappointed for him. But he played well in a lot of these games and he's a young player that I think will just continue to get better."
With Jones out, the Browns are now on their third right tackle. T James Hudson is an option to replace Jones, as he earned the start at right tackle Sunday against the Jaguars. Hudson has a low grade from Pro Football Focus this season with a 38.5. In 385 snaps this season, Hudson has committed eight penalties and allowed one sack.
Despite Hudson's performance so far this season, his teammates believe he could step in to fill Jones' spot if called upon.
"We got a next-man-up mentality, and I truly believe in James (Hudson)," G Wyatt Teller said. "And while I feel like the refs were a little nitpicky with some of the calls, he played well. Every combo I had, it was great playing next to him, pushing out on certain plays and stuff like that. He helped me out. So he's a great teammate. I truly believe in James, but it's definitely sad losing to Dawand."
Check out photos of players arriving to the stadium for their Week 14 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars
The Browns' offensive line coach Bill Callahan has played a pivotal role for the confidence the team has in their backups. He prepares them thoroughly for each game day and works tirelessly to ensure that they are ready to step in when needed. Callahan is a tough coach who demands the best from his players, which is a testament to his coaching ability.
"I remember when Coach came to the Browns in 2020," Teller said. "We're all talking because we had some injuries and all this different stuff. We had all these different offensive line combinations and coach was telling us that he's seen it all. He's experienced. He's able to, in those times of need, bring that next-man-up mentality."
As of now, the offensive line heading into Week 15 is RG Teller, C Pocic, LG Joel Bitonio, and LT Geron Christian. RT is still undetermined but Hudson has been the replacement in the past. Yet, the Browns will work through their options to fill in the holes on the offensive line throughout the week.
"I really do believe that we're a really good team," Teller said. "Obviously, with the injuries. We've had guys who fight through everything and it's special. Speaking of the offensive line, we have had Joel (Bitonio), Po (Ethan Pocic), Nick (Harris) stepping up. All of these guys at right tackle. Jack (Conklin) going down Week 1. Now Dawand (Jones) this week and now James (Hudson) coming in and still playing extremely hard, and Geron (Christian) coming in at left tackle. We're special to have the guy step up and play how we need him to play and we're able to win."