Garrett has big expectations for himself.
“Ten times better (than 2017), 15 times better,” Garrett said with a smile at the team’s golf outing about how much he can improve.
For the record, he was joking about the degree, but Garrett wasn’t joking about expecting a better season. To do that, though, he has to meet the key goal he set for himself after his rookie season: Stay healthy.
“The best quality is availability,” Garrett said during minicamp. “I have to be present.”
It wasn’t Garrett’s fault that he missed five games as a rookie. He hurt his ankle in practice before the opener when a teammate fell on him and caused him to miss four games. He missed the Browns’ trip to London because of a concussion.
But Garrett felt those five missed games plus the time it took to get back to playing shape limited his impact. Even with those, though, he had seven sacks in 11 starts. Projected to a full season, that’s 10 sacks, and a double-digit sack season from a rookie would draw a lot of attention.
But the Browns didn’t draft Garrett first overall a year ago to be very good, and they’ve let Garrett know that.
General manager John Dorsey showed Garrett tape of how Julius Peppersbecame dominant. Peppers, Dorsey feels, has a similar body size and approach as Garrett. Peppers has never been flashy or into showmanship; he’s just a professional who’s been outstanding. Which is the same approach Garrett takes.
“I think that is the challenge maybe John was serving up, and it is no different a challenge than if I would go to Myles,” coach Hue Jackson said. “‘You are supposed to be one of the best players in this league. Go be it every week.'”
Jackson agreed that staying healthy is the first key for Garrett, which in some degree involves not overdoing it off the field.
“He is one of the few guys that I have had to coach that I know I am going to have to keep my hand on to hold back,” defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said. “One of the things with him is his overworking. He works so hard because he does not want to be good; he wants to be great.
“Sometimes he can be his own worst enemy in that respect because he works so hard physically that he has to do a good job with recovery also. The next thing is this — and he knows — if he stays healthy, watch out.”
Garrett’s conditioning has become legendary since he joined the Browns. A year ago he ended training camp practices with a series of 100-yard sprints. This offseason when Garrett ran sprints, Williams said he ran with the defensive backs and receivers.
“They were having a hard time keeping up,” Williams said. “How do you do that as a 280-pound man?”
Another measure of Garrett’s growth is in his knowledge of the game. He admitted that it was an adjustment getting used to the speed of the NFL game.
“It is coming a lot easier,” he said.
A year ago at this time Garrett was coming off a few months of training for the draft, which meant training for the 40-yard dash. This offseason he trained for playing football, which meant concentrating on technique and skills.