The Cleveland Browns are currently 2-1 and the primary reason is because of their defense.
Last year, the Browns ended the 2022 season ranked 20th overall in the NFL in points against.
So far in 2023, Cleveland is sitting pretty as the top overall defense in the league.
Without a doubt, the fire that keeps the defensive engine running is defensive end Myles Garrett.
As one of the NFL’s leading sack artists over the past six years, opposing offenses must constantly be aware of his location at all times.
However, slowing him down is never easy as Pro Football Focus recently found.
According to PFF, Garrett leads the league in creating pressure with a mark of 23.4% (minimum 60 pass rush snaps).
The most efficient players at creating pressure this season 👀 pic.twitter.com/kRf6RqdJnH
— PFF (@PFF) September 28, 2023
Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys is second with a 21.8% pressure rate followed by the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Carter with a 20.5% rate.
Through the first three games, Garrett has been his usual menacing self and has accumulated totals of eight tackles, 4.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits, and one forced fumble.
During Cleveland’s Week 3 contest against the Tennessee Titans, Garrett played like a man possessed while dumping Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill 3.5 times.
I’m not sure I’ve EVER seen this before!
Myles Garrett forces the Titans into a delay of game penalty, because they’re sending 2 offensive players wherever he aligns… WOW!
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) September 24, 2023
He also sacked Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow once in the season’s first game.
Garrett’s leadership of the Browns defense has helped the unit hold the Bengals and the Titans to six points total.
Both games were played at home and Cleveland hosts division-rival Baltimore this weekend.
In 10 games against the Ravens in his career, Garrett has six sacks including three against Lamar Jackson.
Jackson is a more mobile quarterback than the Browns have faced in 2023, but Garrett doesn’t have to solely account for the quarterback’s elusiveness.
The Browns defense has also benefited from newcomers Za’Darius Smith and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo.
It also helps that Denzel Ward, Grant Delpit, and friends have kept quarterbacks from passing at will, giving time for the defensive line to lower the boom.
The @Browns have recorded a 78.4% defensive success rate on pass plays in their first three games under DC Jim Schwartz, the highest of any defense to start a season in the Next Gen Stats era (since 2016).#DawgPound pic.twitter.com/aCbmnTWO3n
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 26, 2023
Garrett had 16 sacks in 2021 and 2022 and he appears to be on his way to double-digit sacks again this season.
If Jackson and the Ravens hope to escape Cleveland with a win on Sunday, they’ll need to bring their “A” game against Garrett.