The Cleveland Browns were still unable to get their first win of the season on Sunday. The Jets handed the Browns a 17-14 loss that forced Hue Jackson to bench DeShone Kizer in favor of Kevin Hogan. At the very least — Myles Garrett was good.
The Browns took Garrett with the No. 1-overall pick in the NFL Draft this past April, widely assumed to be the safest pick in quite some time. He missed the Browns’ first four games because of a high-ankle sprain, but Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said Friday Garrett had a good week, and “a really good look in his eye.”
Sunday, Garrett had eyes for Josh McCown, who he sacked twice. The first one came on his very first snap as a pro.
“It was just a great call by Gregg (Williams) sending me inside,” Garrett said via Cleveland.com. “He jumps at me and I was just able to put a move on and make the play.” His second sack came just after the two-minute warning.
The sacks are great, but Browns fans have to love how Garrett has clearly embraced Cleveland and some of its other favorite athletes, like J.R. Smith.
Garrett paid tribute to Smith with a celebration after the second sack, with one of his best celebrations after a shot ever — even if it did come when he was with the Knicks.
Garrett lived up to his words prior to the draft, where he told ESPN the Magazine, “If you don't draft me No. 1, I will punish your team for the next 10 to 12 years.”
He became the first top pick to register a sack in his first NFL game in 25 years. That’s not even something the great Bruce Smith did.
Myles Garrett is the first #1 overall pick with a sack in his first NFL game since Steve Emtman in 1992 pic.twitter.com/emNn8eLUPN— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) October 8, 2017
Another impressive part of Garrett’s afternoon was that he was limited. “We had him on a pitch count,” Hue Jackson said via Cleveland.com. “I think that was important. His energy was outstanding.”
Garrett didn’t sound complacent after the game — he’s ready for more. “I always want more,” he said. “I always want to make more plays, have more effect on the outcome of the game, but as many as they give me I'll take and I'm just going to try to do my best to make plays out there.”
Outside of Garrett’s performance on Sunday, the Browns have been quite bad this season. Going into Sunday, they were 26th in total offense while having scored just 63 points in four games leading up to Sunday.
However, the Browns haven’t been egregiously bad on defense. They’re 16th in the NFL in total defense and seventh in run defense — and that’s been without Garrett.
If Garrett can help the Browns improve off those initial stats and help them get some wins, then the Browns might be bearable to watch. So far, the offense has been a mess, to say the least. Kizer hasn’t been what the Browns needed — but he also isn’t exactly equipped with the proper weapons.
Corey Coleman has been injured since Week 2, leaving him with Ricardo Louis, Kenny Britt, and Rashard Higgins at wide receiver. The leading receiver on the team is Duke Johnson, a running back, with tight end Seth DeValve second in yards.
The 0-5 start has been disappointing for the Browns. It appeared they made some good changes during the offseason and improved the roster with picks like Garrett, Kizer, David Njoku, and Jabrill Peppers. Though it’s clear that there’s still work to be done in Cleveland.
If Garrett lives up to the type of player everybody expects him to be, he’ll be the franchise player has desperately needed since coming back to the NFL in 1999. At the very least, he gives Browns fans hope for a better future, when there was none before.