With the unfortunate and likely season-ending injury suffered by C Nick Harris on Friday in Jacksonville, the Browns are preparing to use Ethan Pocic, a sixth-year veteran with 40 career starts, as the next man up in the middle of the O-Line.
Pocic replaced Harris after he injured his right knee on the second play of the game in the Browns' preseason win over the Jaguars. Head coach Kevin Stefanski said Harris will likely require season-ending surgery, but he has plenty of confidence in Pocic to step in and become the starter.
"He is a physical football player," Stefanski said Saturday. "He is a big center. He has really good size. Has played a lot of football in his career. For us, it is just getting him good exposure to what we do, which we have been doing since April."
Pocic started 10 games last season with the Seahawks, where he spent the first five years of his career after he was drafted in the second round in 2017. He played 20 snaps in his Browns debut and will work with the rest of the offensive starters as they look to improve from a rough start in the game — the offense gained only seven total yards in three drives with QB Deshaun Watson in the game.
"There is always stuff to clean up," Pocic said. "That is what today is all about is going and cleaning up some mistakes, whether it be technique or whatever it may be and cleaning it up so you can move forward."
At 6-foot-6 and 309 pounds, Pocic is a bit of a different build than Harris, who's 6-foot-3 and has quick movements that work well with the Browns' wide-zone blocking scheme. The scheme often requires centers to run and block in the second level of the defense, and it's something Pocic played with in college at LSU and occasionally in Seattle, too.
His big frame will certainly help him in the scheme if he's able to shift laterally on play assignments and position himself in the correct spots to block players in his designated blocking "zone."
"I am still definitely learning some new techniques and stuff too," Pocic said, "but I like (the scheme) a lot."
The Browns have 28 days until Week 1 to give Pocic more reps with QB Jacoby Brissett, who they're expecting to also start in Week 1. Pocic has primarily snapped to Brissett on the second team in training camp, but Stefanski said Saturday he's plans to on work Brissett in more with the first-stringers as the Browns.
Now, after Harris' injury, Pocic will also move up with him.
"He is a good offensive lineman – he is going to do what he is told," Stefanski said. "When (offensive line coach) Bill (Callahan) tells him go in there, he will go in."
Here's what else you might've missed from Day 12 in Berea:
Check out photos of players and coaches working throughout camp