Suffice it to say, 2019 did not turn out as well as Cleveland Browns fans anticipated.
Winning the offseason coming off a second-half resurgence in 2018 fooled a lot of pundits, too.
Predictions were almost uniformly positive.
MVP candidates, passing records, rushing records, and the Vince Lombardi Trophy dominated Browns Twitter.
But it was the unforeseen events and performances that undermined the season.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 22, 2019
The wheels were already falling off the Browns´ wagon in mid-November,
But Myles Garrett´s season-ending suspension snapped the axles for the defense.
Cleveland´s pass rush and overall pass defense took a mighty blow without their All-Pro defensive end.
Instead of Super Bowl talk and the Browns´ promising future,
Sports radio filled with debate about whether Garrett should ever play in the NFL again.
Well, the Browns won the offseason again, loading up with players and coaching talent for 2020.
But what about Myles Garrett?
Myles Garrett is Already Bouncing Back
We see the expression, “winning the offseason” a lot in Cleveland.
It is not usually associated with individual players.
But it might as well be in Myles Garrett´s case.
While many debated how long Garrett´s indefinite suspension should last,
By the end of the 2019 season, it was already assumed Garrett would return for the 2020 campaign.
— Everything Cleveland (@EverythingCLE_) May 5, 2020
Cleveland announced they picked up Garrett´s fifth-year option shortly after his reinstatement.
Then, it was speculated Garrett´s extension could make him the first $25-million defensive player in the NFL.
Garrett has always been popular among Browns fans for his off-the-field demeanor and activities.
He didn´t miss a beat this year, starting with a Thanksgiving meal program just weeks after the incident.
Waterboys, a non-profit endeavor to build wells in Africa, did not consider replacing Garrett as their spokesperson.
Garrett accompanied the group to Tanzania after the season in a trip he called a “blessing.”
More recently, word got out that Garrett paid a cell phone repair bill for some random guy.
The customer could not afford the repair and Garrett, who happened to be there, picked up the cost.
Then there was the young family in Cambria, Pa whose house burned down.
👏👏👏 Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett visited Steelers country Tuesday to deliver gifts to a Northern Cambria family that lost everything to a fire last month.https://t.co/4P2Bs5ddhV pic.twitter.com/UEGIn0dP6H
— 6 News (@WJACTV) May 13, 2020
Garrett drove over three hours to personally deliver toys and some encouragement to the family.
Critics and haters can accuse Garrett of actively rebuilding his reputation.
But none of his activities were publicized by Garrett, the team, or his agent.
We learned of each of these things through third-party tweets and announcements.
What Can We Expect from Myles Garrett ON the Field?
Myles Garrett was enjoying another Pro-Bowl quality season before his suspension.
He followed his 13.5-sack effort of 2018 with 10 sacks in 10 games.
And he didn´t get to play against what were arguably the four most sack-friendly defenses on the schedule.
That includes Miami, Arizona, and the Bengals twice.
— Myles Garrett Facts (@Myles95Facts) April 27, 2020
Garrett might benefit from an improved offense.
But there are reinforcements on defense, too.
Olivier Vernon´s health is always a matter for concern,
But the emerging Chad Thomas is joined by free agent Adrian Clayburn.
Clayburn ranks second only to Garrett in quarterback pressures over the past two seasons.
Andrew Billings and rookie Jordan Elliott strengthen the interior line, too.
Mentally, Garrett appears to own his indiscretion, to the point where he can engage others in a jovial back-and-forth.
Wait a min!!!! That wasn’t even the worst part …. the worst part was I got charged wit assault….. and u somehow didn’t !!! 😂😂😂😂😂😂 only in America https://t.co/8fjZXIdsNv
— Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) May 18, 2020
In short, we expect nothing less than another Pro-Bowl performance from Garrett.
But what could make his bounce-back season even better?
Here are three extraordinary things we expect from Myles Garrett.
1. Garrett Accounts for 32 Sacks, and 54 Quarterback Hits
Well, not by himself, of course.
Garrett averaged one sack and 1.8 quarterback hits per game in 2019.
Why won´t he average at least that as he strives to re-establish his dominance?
Who’s the best DE in the NFL, and why Myles Garrett? pic.twitter.com/6GhEuTDXIb
— CleWest (@erjmanlasvegas) May 15, 2020
Such performance will draw extra attention from the offensive line.
That is attention that won´t be paid to a healthy Olivier Vernon (or Jadeveon Clowney) nor Adrian Clayburn.
Not to mention, the interior linemen and any random blitzer sneaking through.
As he has always done, Myles Garrett will make the entire Browns pass rush better.
Garrett may or may not sign his extension before the season.
But he will justify his pending status as the best-paid defensive end in football.
2. Garrett Scores a Touchdown… on Offense
Another impressive tweet from Garrett´s offseason shows him completing a box jump.
At the 2017 NFL Combine, Garrett´s vertical leap hit 41 inches.
In an April tweet, Garrett nails a 60″ box jump effortlessly.
He tagged Baker Mayfield in the tweet, suggesting it might be time for a Myles Garrett goal-line package.
— Myles Garrett ⚡️ (@MylesLGarrett) May 1, 2020
There has been no mention of such a thing from Kevin Stefanski.
And Garrett was playing around but… why not?
In 2017, Garrett showed good hands on an athletic interception.
Unfortunately, it was called back on a penalty, leaving Garrett without an official INT through three seasons.
But Stefanski is a master of deception.
Who knows how the defense would react to Garrett in the slot or next to the tight end?
3. Myles Garrett: Defensive Player of the Year
Many eyes will be on Myles Garrett this season.
He will not be able to shake the stigma of last year´s incident.
But he can own it and play through it, just like he has off the field.
All the attention, and maybe an offensive touchdown, will pay off.
2020 Early Predictions (not final) NFL Award predictions
MVP: Dak Prescott
Sleeper MVP: Matt Ryan
OPOY: Saquon Barkley
DPOY: Myles Garrett
OROY: Joe Burrow
DROY: Chase Young
Coach of the year: Kevin Stefanski
Suprise Team: Colts
Let Down Team: Titans
Super Bowl winner: Saints
— The Fantasy Guru (@FantasyAdvice99) May 13, 2020
Because no one will be able to say they didn´t see how awesome a player Garrett is.
He might have to play it a little safe at times.
And he might get hit with some ticky-tack roughing calls along the way.
But he´ll still put up numbers and highlight videos that make him a lock for his second Pro Bowl.
There is a reason the Browns plan to pay him over $25 million per season.
And his first Defensive Player of the Year Award will show everyone he is worth it.