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5 big takeaways: Myles Garrett holds his own in preseason debut

Posted Aug 10, 2017

Cleveland comes back to beat New Orleans, 20-14

Myles Garrett came away satisfied with his first NFL preseason game, but it had nothing to do with how he personally played.

“We came out with the win,” Garrett said after Cleveland’s 20-14, comeback victory. “We affected the passer and we most importantly won. Whatever we can do to achieve that goal, I’m going to do.”

Garrett had a hand in the Browns first-team defense limiting the Saints to just a field goal. His first NFL tackle came on the first series when he tackled running back Alvin Kamara for no gain. On the following series, he blew up another running play for a 2-yard loss. He got his first knockdown on his final play of the game to help force a third-down incompletion.

Garrett, who squared off against Saints veteran reserve lineman Khalif Barnes, drew a handful of double-teams throughout the first quarter.

“I thought he held his own,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “When he had an opportunity to rush, he rushed well and there was a little pressure here and there.”

-- Jackson said it was way too early to re-evaluate the Browns quarterback competition in the moments after the win.

Running the first-team offense, Brock Osweiler led the Browns inside the 5-yard line on his fourth possession but came away with no points. He finished 6-of-14 for 42 yards.

Cody Kessler played the remainder of the first half and finished 5-of-10 for 47 yards, 31 coming on a pass to Josh Boyce.

Rookie DeShone Kizer played the entire second half and led the Browns on two touchdown drives. He completed passes of 52 and 45 yards en route to an 11-of-18, 184-yard performance.

“I go back to work tomorrow, look at all the tape and then make a decision about where we are,” Jackson said. “As I said, this was one week. I never told you guys this is how it was going to be from here on in. I said I am going to evaluate this after a week and see where we are. This was for this game on Thursday night against New Orleans. We will see where we are for next week.”

-- Jabrill Peppers showed the kind of burst the Browns love on a punt return and kick return in the first half. The first-round rookie just couldn’t get the punt return he didn’t make off his mind when he spoke with reporters after the game.

Peppers called for a fair catch when he fielded a 51-yard Thomas Morestead punt during the latter portion of the first quarter. He promptly regretted his decision when the ball landed in his arms because there was still yards of open field ahead of him.

“Usually in college when the ball hangs a little bit, you’d bet a lot of money the defense would pretty much be in your face. You’ve got to take into account the distance … I saw it hanging so I just thought the fair catch would be the best decision. Preseason game, you learn from your mistakes and move forward.”

Peppers returned a punt later in the quarter 13 yards. The one kick he was able to return went 27 yards.

-- The Browns lost a starter to injury early in the game, as safety Ibraheim Campbell suffered a concussion while attempting a tackle on the game’s second play. The third-year safety was examined on the field and a cart was brought to his side, but he ultimately walked off under his own power.

Justin Currie filled his spot for the remainder of the possession before Peppers took over for the rest of the time the first-team defense played.

-- Sidelined for most of last season with their respective foot injuries, offensive linemen Joel Bitonio and John Greco both returned to the field Thursday.

Bitonio started at left guard and played all of the snaps with the first team. Greco played right guard for the second group.

“It was really exciting,” Bitonio said. “I haven’t played since October, so to get out there and play football again, I was pretty pumped about it this morning and all day. I was like, I get to do what I love again and I’m healthy and ready to go.”

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