- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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This offseason has made it tough for the Browns to get their run defense on track.
The Browns' latest setback came Saturday, when coach Pat Shurmur confirmed that outside linebacker Chris Gocong is out for the season. He tore his right Achilles tendon and will undergo surgery Monday, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
"We're disappointed he got hurt," Shurmur told the paper. "I'm very fond of Chris and the effort he puts into being a good football player. Anytime a good football player like that gets hurt, unfortunately there's a loss there."
Shurmur added, "The challenge for us is to cover it up with the guys that are on this roster. I talked to Chris, he's fine. Unfortunately we're moving on and he understands that."
The Browns will move forward, but the question is whether the run defense will take a step backward. It was three months ago when defensive tackle Phil Taylor had surgery on his pectoral muscle. He is expected to miss at least the first six games.
Cleveland will also be without outside linebacker Scott Fujita, who has been suspended for the first three games because of his role in the Saints bounty scandal.
So the Browns will go with two backups at outside linebacker, likely Kaluka Maiava and rookie James-Michael Johnson, for the first part of the regular season. Stopping the run will become a bigger challenge for Cleveland, which had the NFL's third-worst run defense last season.
The Browns' first three regular-season opponents this year are Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Buffalo. The Eagles and Bills both ranked in the top half of the league in rushing in 2011.
Gocong, 28, who is scheduled to make $4.5 million this year, made 67 tackles last season, which ranked third on the Browns.
This offseason has made it tough for the Browns to get their run defense on track.The Browns' latest setback came Saturday, when coach Pat Shurmur confirmed that outside linebacker Chris Gocong is out for the season.