The Cleveland Browns lost their fifth straight game to start the season, falling to the New York Jets, 17-14. But even through the pain of another loss, the Browns had some bright spots in the game, including the debut of first round pick Myles Garrett.
The defensive end made an early splash in the game, notching a sack on his very first snap. In the game, he played in 19 snaps, posting two tackles, two tackles for a loss, two sacks and two quarterback hits. After the game, Garrett admitted that his ankle was sore following his first NFL action showing that the number one pick was not at full strength and his top level of performance.
In this week’s Browns Film Room, I will examine Garrett’s performance showing examples of his immense talent, impact on the rest of the defense, things to work on and the impact of his ankle injury on his play. Finally, I have a happy film room! So, lets roll the tape!
Examples of his immense talent
In his NFL debut, Myles Garrett showed examples of his immense talent that earned him the number one pick billing. Here are two plays where he showed off his talent.
Garrett burst onto the scene in his very first snap. The Browns forced the Jets into a 3rd-and-5 play on the first drive of the game. In the play, Garrett is lined up in the left B gap between the left guard and left tackle. The Jets line up in a shotgun with a running back to the left of quarterback Josh McCown and tight end on the left end of the line. The first-overall pick quickly gets out of his stance and charges across the face of the left guard. He was so fast that the guard had little time to get his hands on Garrett. It did not help that the center did not even attempt to help out, but Garrett’s quickness of the snap got him free from the guard and straight shot to sack McCown. His quickness and speed were on full display in his first ever snap and sack of his career.
This play shows of his explosive get off from the line of scrimmage. The Jets come out in a shotgun with a running back to the left of McCown for this 1st-and-10 play. Garrett is lined up on the outside hip of the Jets left tackle. When the ball is snapped, Garrett explodes off the line of scrimmage and causes the left tackle to have to quickly get back to catch him. This in turns allows Garrett to then go to a bull rush and prey on the happy feet the left tackle had to match his explosion off the snap. Garrett is then able to push the tackle back out of the back of the pocket, allowing Garrett to be right next to McCown. The rusher able to get pressure on the quarterback and cause McCown to get rid of the ball quickly, which ended up being an incompletion.
This shot shows the amount of field Garrett is able to cover quickly off the line of scrimmage compared to the rest of the Browns rushers. He is way ahead of the rest of the rushers.
Impact on the rest of the defense
The effect of Garrett’s presence on the field impacts the rest of the defense.
It enables other defenders to have an easier time because the first overall pick is drawing a lot of attention from the offense. Here is an example of this.
For this play late in the fourth quarter up 17-7, the Jets are faced with a 3rd-and-12 play. New York comes out in a shotgun formation with a running back to the right of McCown, a tight end on the end of the left side of the line and a receiver motioning to the right slot back position. Garrett is lined up in the B gap between the left guard and left tackle. The Jets run a handoff with the back going to the left. Garrett shoots off the line and does a power swipe move to push the left tackle out of the way so he can get around the blocker on the outside. Garrett draws the pulling blocker’s attention and in turn blocks the edge from the rush getting through. With the edge blocked by Garrett, the running back has only the middle of the line to go through, but linebacker James Burgess was free in that gap and ready to make a stop. The running back broke through Burgess’ tackle, but was stopped for a four-yard gain and a big stop on third down. Garrett’s stuffing the edge was able to funnel the run inside where the rest of the defense was able to make the stop. His presence on the play enabled the rest of the defense to make the stop.
Impact of the ankle injury
Garrett, though, was definitely hampered by his ankle injury and it showed up in his play on occasion. Here are two examples of where I think his ankle hurt his play.
This play was a 3rd-and-10 play in the second quarter with the Jets lined up in a shotgun. Garrett is on the outside hip of the left tackle. Garrett comes off the line and tries to run the pass rush arc against the tackle. The first overall pick was able to use his speed and quickness to get past the left tackle and have a chance at bending the edge and getting to the quarterback. Garrett begins to bend around the edge to head toward the quarterback. But, he is unable to hold strong on his attempt to bend and is pushed out of the pocket. His ankle was not strong enough yet to handle the pressure and weight of the left tackle and show his capable ability to bend around the edge. You can see him hopping following the play.
Here is another play where his ankle, in my opinion, affects his play. In this 1st-and-10 play in the fourth quarter, the Jets are running a wide receiver sweep to the left out a single back formation. Garrett plays the initial play beautifully as the left edge rusher. He comes off the line and does not chase the fake to the right, standing his ground to keep contain on the left edge. When Jets receiver ArDarius Stewart receives the pitch from McCown, Garrett is ready and in position to make the stop. Stewart, though, makes a stutter move, which allows Stewart to win the edge and beat Garrett for an 11-yard gain. I think this is another example where, if healthy, Garrett makes the stop. When Stewart stutters, Garrett is forced to stop to negate the receiver to go inside. When Stewart starts to shoot back outside, Garrett’s right ankle shows its injury, not allowing him to drive firmly off of that foot to get to Stewart. He did not have the usual strength and power to drive off that ankle, which caused him to fall behind Stewart. Once again, Garrett hops following the play, showing a sign of his injured ankle.
Things to work on
Besides just getting healthy, Garrett does have some things to work on to get better as a player. Here is an example of something he needs to work on.
In this 3rd-an-8 play midway through the fourth quarter, the Browns are in position to get a stop and give the offense a chance to get the lead. The Jets come out in a shotgun with max protection, including a running back to the left of McCown and a tight end at the left slot back position. Garrett is on the outside hip of tight end Eric Tomlinson on the left edge. Garrett comes off the line and decides to go with a power bull rush against the tight end. He makes some ground, but he is soon stalemated. It takes too long for Garrett to decide to counter the bull rush with a spin move. By the time he makes the spin move, McCown is unloading the pass that is completed for an 18-yard gain. Garrett must learn he cannot always beat blockers with a single move, even tight ends, and that he will need to utilize his other pass rush moves quicker to counter his initial move. This allows him to avoid getting stalemated. His has the repertoire of pass rush moves, but he must learn to string them together quicker if the first move does not work.
Highlight of the Week
The highlight of the Jets game was tight end David Njoku. Njoku caught three passes for 48 yards and a touchdown. He showed in his limited touches the ability to make big plays, especially the one-handed touchdown catch. He has the athleticism to be a true mismatch for the offense, especially in redzone situations.
Lowlight of the Week
The lowlight of the Jets game was the 4th-and-2 play in the fourth quarter. The first part was the decision to go for it. I believe the decision was the wrong choice. The Browns trailed 10-7 with almost the entire fourth quarter to play still. There was no need to go for it. The Browns should have just kicked the short field goal and tied the ball game up. Secondly, the call to convert the fourth down play was horrible. It lacked disguise and it was clearly read by the Jets defense. The Browns ran the ball into the Jets defense that was ready for the run. The whole play was bad.
Joe Gilbert’s 2017 Season Film Rooms