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Burning Questions

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11 questions for Myles Garrett, who is looking to build off his career-best performance

The Pro Bowl pass rusher leads the NFL with 5.5 sacks and will look to add to that total Sunday in Minnesota

Does it get any better than a franchise record 4.5 sacks?

Myles Garrett thinks so.

That's the kind of mindset Garrett will carry into Sunday's matchup with the Vikings, another big game on a schedule full of them. The NFL's sack leader will be a key player, just like he is every game, as the Browns look to slow down Kirk Cousins and a talented Vikings offense. caught up with Garrett as he wrapped up his final practice of the week. You're coming off a career-best performance against the Bears. How do you carry that momentum forward into Sunday's game in Minnesota?

Garrett: I'm not too worried about myself individually. I know we have to do our thing collectively as a team and defense and put it all together if we want to win. One man is not going to win a game, and I know that I play along with my teammates and use the concepts we have to get the job done. When you have a performance like you had, is it something where you think to yourself, "What if I did this every week?"

Garrett: The standards I hold myself to, I figure I can do that on any field, any given day. The conditions have to be right, the situation has to be right — one-on-ones, I have to earn the right to rush the passer. We have to get them to hold the ball. There's a lot of great quarterbacks and offensive lines that can find ways to adjust to that. I feel like when I get my chances, I'm going to be able to take them and capitalize on them. You faced a rookie QB and a banged-up offensive line last week, and Minnesota has a veteran QB and some electric playmakers. What did the defense do last week that is sustainable and can carry over to this week?

Garrett: We did a good job of making them throw short, making them check down and not getting extra yardage — no YAC plays — as well as just being technically sound. There weren't a lot of busts on our end. We were where we needed to be and we got there aggressively and fast. When it happens like that, that needs to carry over. There were a lot of changes on the defensive line from last season. What have you thought about all of the new additions?

Garrett: We're hired hitters and we've got to go out and get the job done. No matter who it is — me, Takk (Takkarist McKinley), JD (Jadeveon Clowney) — if someone goes down, someone has to come in and make big plays. That's what we need to do. There's a lot of talk on the outside about Kevin Stefanski playing in his first game in Minnesota since he came here to be head coach. Has he indicated to the team this game is any different than the others?

Garrett: Not at all. Not at all. He's going in there just like we are. We've got a job to do and we're hired to get this one job done. We've got to go do it. What do you like most about the business-like approach Stefanski has gotten the team to adopt?

Garrett: It's not always sunshine and roses. You've got to go out there and view it as a job sometimes. It's fun, it's something you've always dreamed of doing but there's a level of detail you have to hold yourself to and a standard you hold yourself to and make sure you go out there and you're always on your P's and Q's. You can't allow yourself to slip up and think it's just a game. You can't go out there and play superhero and be one-on-one and getting in the way of others. There's 10 other people on the field with you that you have to be cognizant of and know your role and know their role. Everyone has their roles, and once everyone is working together, you can reach that level of efficiency and that's when things get rolling. Has that been the theme this week? Even though you allowed just 47 yards, has it been about what you could have done better?

Garrett: There's always something you can do better. We still didn't hit all of our goals for ourselves and in the game. That means we can still take another step. Until we hit all of those, we're not perfect. It seems like sacks are a momentum thing. Could turnovers be that way for this defense?

Garrett: Always. It was last year, and I don't see why both of those could for us the rest of the year. Minnesota's had no trouble scoring points this season. What do they do to make it tough on a defense?

Garrett: Cousins is playing like an MVP candidate and Dalvin Cook is one of the best backs in the league. That combination can throw people off because you don't know what you're going to get: play-action, a run or a drop back. (Cousins) is able to get the ball out of his hands quick to the skill players. They have a high-powered offense and a solid defense. We have to outplay their defense and stymie the offense and get them off the field early and often so we can get it back to our guys. A lot of people understandably like to compare the Vikings offense to the Browns offense. What are some differences you've seen?

Garrett: You've got different guys. They don't have the same kind of backfield we do. They run out of a little bit different of a scheme. They run a little more screens, a couple more pull plays. They like to get the ball out quick. They like to get it out of their hands so their guys can get out and move. They don't want to hold the ball for long, drawn-out plays. It's just not their style. It was a big week for you to be able to unveil your second Downtown Cleveland mural. How has it felt to make an impact off the field in Cleveland?

Garrett: I've always loved this city since I've been here. I'm just trying to give back what I've received. The city has always shown love. If I want to be a part of this community for a long time, I need to set my roots deep and show this is home for just as much as Texas is and will be.

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