Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett felt his team lacked focus at the tail end of last season.
He seems determined to not let that happen again this time around.
This week, via this Tweet from Mary Kay Cabot, defensive line coach Chris Kiffin praised Garrett for being more locked in than ever so far this summer.
It’s impressed Kiffin enough to the point that he’s talking about a potential Defensive Player of the Year campaign for Myles.
#Browns DL coach Chris Kiffin says Myles Garrett is more locked in than he’s ever seen him, really taking his game to the next level this year. He would have Kiffin’s vote for #NFL DPOY
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) July 30, 2022
Staying focused can be tough for the Cleveland Browns right now coming off the heels of the announcement of a six-game suspension for quarterback Deshaun Watson.
The Browns will be counting on their stars who are available to play at the start of the season to help steer the ship.
One of those stars is Myles Garrett.
Dialing in on Defense
Cleveland boasted the third-best defense in 2021 in terms of yards allowed per game.
That’s a high enough level of defense to keep you in contention for a Lombardi.
The problem last year, as we’ve all discussed, came with the offense.
That side could scuffle again in 2022 with backup Jacoby Brissett slated to start the first six games.
He’s not terrible, but there’s a reason he isn’t starting somewhere.
For about a third of the year, the Browns offense will be very limited.
How do they combat that?
The answer is found in the old basketball cliché, “the best offense is a great defense”.
Garrett, a bit of a basketball star in his own right, can lead Cleveland to live up to that saying.
Myles Garrett once again proving he’s really good at basketball. #NBAALLSTAR #Browns #LetEmKnow pic.twitter.com/F2FWptRZ4W
— John Sabol (@John_Sabol) February 19, 2022
That saying from basketball applies to defenses who force their opponents into tough and forced shots in addition to turnovers.
While you can’t have a fast break in football, what you can do is earn extra possessions for the offense by forcing fumbles and interceptions.
The “D” can also force the opposing offense into slow, long drives that keep a temporarily less-potent Cleveland offense from engaging in a shootout.
Let’s face it, the Browns probably aren’t winning too many high-scoring games early this season.
That’s where Garrett comes in to help lead the defense in controlling the pace.
He broke Cleveland’s single-season sack record last season with 16.
He’s also had four straight seasons with double-digit sack numbers.
The Browns’ defense must control games while Watson is out.
That starts with Myles being a DPOY-level player.
Locker Room Leader
Myles being locked in doesn’t strictly apply on the field.
At least not according to Chris Kiffin.
Per Scott Petrak of Brownszone.com, Garrett deserves just as much praise off the field as well.
“I know it’s camp, he’s locked in more so than I’ve ever seen. He’s out early to everything, he’s really taken the next step, as far as in our defensive line room being the leader”, Kiffin told reporters at practice last Saturday. “He knows that room is his now. He had some older guys when he first got in there, and he’s really locked in now.”
The Browns need exactly, well, all of that from Myles this season.
He’s quickly become one of the “older” vets on an extremely young defense.
There are no elder statesmen alongside him on the defensive front anymore.
If Myles is already giving maximum effort and focus in the summer, there’s not much of an excuse for others to not match that intensity.
If they are slacking, well, that could lead to an unpleasant conversation afterwards with Mr. Garrett.
This responsibility falls on Myles now, and he seems ready for it.
So far, signs point toward Browns fans getting the best version of Garrett ever in 2022.
Even when Watson returns, they’ll need that level of dominance to make a deep postseason run and meet the ultimate goal of winning a title.
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