Cleveland Browns' linebacker Chris Gocong's season-ending Achilles tear injury has left a void at both the strong and weak side linebacker position in 2012.
Gocong's 3.5 sacks and 47 tackles in 2011 don't make him invaluable but the numbers to fill in the void are going to have to come from somewhere.
After his first two years with the team, he demonstrated the consistent and adequate ability that he could provide to the defensive unit. With him out and Scott Fujita facing a suspension, the defense now has a question mark where it assumed it had security.
It isn't so much that he is irreplaceable, it's that there really aren't many options in the thin Browns' linebacker corps.
Given that the Browns are not inclined to go out and sign leftover free agents, they will likely fill the void with the youth currently on the roster.
In fact, Shurmur said something very close to that in a report from Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Browns head coach Pat Shurmur said the team would cover it (Gocong's injury) up with players already on their roster.
Let's take a look at which Browns defenders are going to have to step it up this season in the wake of losing their versatile outside linebacker.