The Cleveland Browns’ season didn’t end in the way most people hoped, but they proved that they were far better than some analysts predicted.
A lot of that had to do with their stellar defense.
It’s not so often that you see such a quick and notorious turnaround from a defensive unit, but Jim Schwartz wasn’t messing around last year.
He helped Myles Garrett have the best season of his career, which is a lot to say.
Notably, Garrett was the team leader in quarterback pressure by a significant margin, logging 86 (via PFF CLE Browns on Twitter).
The most QB pressures by Browns defenders this season 💥 pic.twitter.com/LV2XPX9bb2
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) January 30, 2024
He had 26 more pressures than fellow DE Za’Darius Smith, and that’s despite being doubled or triple-teamed most of the time.
Dalvin Tomlinson finished a distant third with just 36 pressures, followed by Ogbonnia Orkownkwo with 32 and Alex Wright with 21.
Garrett is one of the finalists for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, and he finished the campaign as the odds-on favorite.
While he didn’t post the most impressive starts in the league, and other stars like T.J. Watt also made a strong case to get this consideration, Garrett stood on a tier of his own in terms of dominance.
He literally forced opposing teams to get multiple pre-snap penalties for how offensive linemen tried to match up with him, and he forced other teams to center their entire game plan on trying to contain him.
The Browns’ defense was championship-caliber, and they’re only going to keep getting better in another year under coach Schwartz, especially with Garrett just entering his physical prime.