Browns veteran linebacker Tank Carder tore his ACL in Monday’s preseason win over the Giants and has been ruled out for the season.
Carder, who suffered the injury during Monday’s first half, will undergo surgery in the near future. He’s the first Browns player to be ruled out for the season since training camp began in late July.
“We all know Tank has been a great teammate and has worked really hard for the opportunity that was in front of him,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said on a Tuesday conference call. “He will be missed, no question.”
Carder, a six-year veteran, was poised to play the biggest role of his career as the first-team middle linebacker in Cleveland’s 4-3 defense. A standout on special teams since he joined the Browns in 2012, Carder played in 78 games and served as the team’s special teams captain in 2016.
Now, a fellow special teams stalwart is poised to fill the void in the middle of Cleveland’s defense.
Second-year linebacker Joe Schobert will get the first opportunity at a position that is relatively new to him. After serving mostly as an outside linebacker in Cleveland’s 3-4 last season, Schobert was moved to the middle shortly after defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and his staff were put in place.
Schobert has been a standout performer in the preseason, picking up two sacks and making a number of plays all across the field, and will get his first real taste of the expanded role Saturday against Tampa Bay, when the Browns are expected to play their first-team players for a large chunk of the game.
Undrafted rookie Kenneth Olugbode got extensive snaps Monday at middle linebacker and would be next in line behind an ascending Schobert.
“I thought Joe is really improved and has done a great job,” Jackson said. “He has had a tremendous training camp and first two preseason games. He is very smart. Understands the system and what we are trying to implement from the MIKE linebacker position. Having him obviously has been great. It is a real luxury when you lose somebody like Tank, so I think Joe will fit the bill and do what is necessary to play the position and play it well.”