Skip to main content


Gregg Williams expects Browns defense to perform with or without Myles Garrett

Gregg Williams got right to the point when he was asked if Myles Garrett's absence will force the Browns defense to dramatically adjust for Sunday's season opener against the Steelers.

"There are a lot of good players here," the defensive coordinator said Friday. "He didn't play all of the snaps in the preseason either. He'll be fine. He'll be back."

To be certain, Cleveland will miss Garrett, the rookie defensive end and No. 1 overall pick, after he suffered a high ankle sprain in Wednesday's practice. But as Garrett's status is evaluated on a weekly basis, Williams said his group will take a "next man up" approach until the dynamic edge rusher returns.

"Things are going to happen in a ball game. You have to react on the next play. You have to react on the next series," he said.

"We are very much served with a philosophy in our playbook of next man up. As a coaching staff, when we manage personnel, it is about the next man up. The next man up may do something better than the guy he just replaced but not as good as the guy he just replaced."

Williams, a 27-year veteran who joined the Browns' staff in January, has seemingly re-energized a defense that shined throughout the preseason. In four games, the unit gave up just two touchdowns en route to the club's first undefeated mark in 31 years.

"Since I have been here with the players and everything from April 17th on, they have come in here with an attitude of, 'Let's get better,'" Williams said.

"It has been really fun because, like I said before, I have been in several of these situations. Sometimes in the offseason, people aren't really fired up about it. Sometimes in training camp, people aren't really fired up about it. These guys have come in every single day wanting to get better and have gotten better. I think you guys have seen some of that with how much they have worked."

Because of that, Williams believes the Browns are poised for success with or without Garrett's pass-rushing talents.

"We have enough packages of people rotating things around. There were going to be a lot of times and you will see guys right now where we rotate a lot of guys off the field," Williams said. "They can't play every single play full speed the way we want them to play. There was going to be rotation plays for everybody that goes out there in our packages."

He added: "Today's practice was excellent. I'm excited to see the next phase, and that'll be Sunday."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content