Browns rookie defensive end Myles Garrett has showed flashes of why he was the first-overall NFL Draft pick this past spring.
Garrett, the former Texas A&M star, leads Cleveland with five sacks despite missing the first month of the season with a high-ankle sprain and another game because of a concussion. Now, Garrett wants to end 2017 on a high note and help lift the Browns to their first win of the year.
ClevelandBrowns.com caught up with Garrett as he prepared for Cleveland's second-to-last game of the season in Chicago.
CB.com: Myles, going into the 15th game of the season, I know you've missed a few of them, but how are you holding up physically? I know for rookies, this is where it starts to feel like a real NFL season compared to college.
Garrett: It's just about taking care of your body, they have many avenues for me to take care of that and I've been taking advantage of it. Going in and making sure I'm getting into the pools, making sure I'm seeing the trainers and doing everything I can to make sure I not only survive the season, but prosper.
CB.com: How different is that from what you experienced in college, with all the resources?
Garrett: There's stuff that's more available now, whether it's because of the assetts that we've gained from stepping up to the next level or just the resources that are available now. It's a little bit different but it helps.
CB.com: You've got a couple games left, but just looking at your rookie season, what has maybe surprised you or stood out so far and what do you want to work on in Year 2?
Garrett: Just kind of how fast the ball gets out, that's a little bit surprising. But there's nothing you can do about it you can try to just get better and be more successful in getting there before the ball gets out.
CB.com: Playing in the SEC, there's a lot of teams that run that fast-paced offense. What makes it different about these quick-release quarterbacks you're facing.
Garrett: I mean, quick release is much different from quick to the ball. In the SEC, they like to run their plays quick but in the NFL, they don't like to run their plays as quick but they like to get the ball out. You just have to be able to adapt.
CB.com: For you personally, how have you adjusted to the elevation in competition from the guys you're matched up with week in and week out, the challenges they present.
Garrett: Everybody's good. You can't take a day off with anybody, it's never going to be any easy days where you can just breeze through. You've got to bring your A game.
CB.com: From a personal standpoint, you dealt with the ankle injury and things like that in the preseason. Was that frustrating or have you gotten past that frustration?
Garrett: It's something that I've still got to take care of, go into the trainers about, but it's not anything that's going to hinder me throughout the season and it's not a weakness for me.
CB.com: Just being on a young team, have you changed your approach leadership-wise or are you the same guy you arrived as at the beginning of the season?
Garrett: Same guy. Lead by example. Making sure that I'm doing everything that I can to better myself and be a benefit to the team and hopefully my teammates see that and do and what to be about the same things.
CB.com: When you look back, what kind of feedback have you gotten from the guys you're going against or guys like Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas back in Berea?
Garrett: I've gotten some advice from guys I've done against and definitely Joe, he's a great resource. I talk to him and see what I could do better and see what I should do against guys I'm facing the week ahead of me. I always go to him to make sure I'm a step ahead.
CB.com: What has this experience been like — I know you guys haven't won as many games as you'd like — but what has it been like kind of goring through this in your first season?
Garrett: It's hard to lose and it's hard to win. You just have to be ready to execute and that's been the difference. We're working on that each and every week, trying to put it together.
CB.com: What have you learned about the City of Cleveland now that you've been here for a few months and kind of experienced it?
Garrett: I mean, (the fans) are frustrated just like we are but they're still sticking with us. We appreciate it and we're going to do our best each and every Sunday.
CB.com: Have you kind of realized that, once this thing gets turned around, how electric it could be when that happens?
Garrett: I know it'll be absolutely amazing, just by seeing how many Browns fans there are. There's a lot of Cavs fans, but deep down, they just want somebody to root for in the NFL and we need to bring that to them.
CB.com: Did you get to know Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in the pre-draft process? What do you know about his game thus far?
Garrett: I didn't really get to know him, but he has talent and he can throw the ball and he also has the foot speed to get out and make plays in space. We've got to make sure we cage him and don't allow him to get out and extend plays, try and take him down as well.
CB.com: You guys have faced a lot of players like him this season, what's the big thing going against someone like that?
Garrett: Just making sure I always have my eyes on the quarterback, making sure he's not escaping inside of me or trying to bounce outside of me.
CB.com: It was kind of a whirlwind for you right after your time at Texas A&M. You go to the combine, you're getting ready for the draft. You're going to have a lot of free time coming up. Have you mapped out your routine going into the offseason?
Garrett: Yeah, I know what time I'm going to spend to myself to relax and what time I'm going to go and grind. I can guarantee there will be more time me grinding than me taking time off. I know I have to be better and do better. I hold myself to a higher standard.
CB.com: Do you know how to relax? Is that even in your personality? Is that painful to do nothing?
Garrett: It is. It's hard for me, you can definitely ask my friends and the people around me. Me relaxing, it doesn't last for long. Whatever time I have off, I'm going to be having to restrain myself from going out there, working, running, working on plays, doing some pass rush moves. Whatever it is, I'm just trying to get better. I'm just trying to find some time with my family where we can get away and just get it off my mind until i can get back and do it again.
CB.com: Do you come in with the mindset that you want to take a big leap in Year 2? Garrett: Absolutely. I want to take a big leap in each and every year I'm in the NFL. I know I can do it, it's just about putting my mind to it.