Browns defensive end Myles Garrett enters Year 2 with big expectations of himself. So does his head coach.
Hue Jackson believes Garrett, the No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick in 2017, can be one of the league's best players for years to come after a promising but injury-marred rookie season.
"I think it was more of that there's an expectation of him to be an elite player, and he is an elite player," Jackson said Wednesday when asked about that campaign. "He has to do it all of the time … You're supposed to be one of the best players in this league; go be it every week. I think that he will."
Garrett certainly showed flashes of dominance last year. He led Cleveland with seven sacks in 11 games despite a high-ankle sprain that sidelined him for the first month of the season and nagged at him thereafter. Perhaps his own biggest critic, Garrett was disappointed at the end of the season, saying he didn’t live up to his own lofty standards and vowed to have a greater impact going forward. So in the offseason, the former Texas A&M star edge rusher made it a point to get healthy, first and foremost, and in as good of shape as possible. "I was mostly working on myself and my diet to try and stay in shape," Garrett said at the team's annual golf tournament last month. "I was just trying to make sure I came back stronger and healthier than before."
Much like Jackson, Garrett hopes big things are in store for both him and the 2018 Browns as they try to bounce back from a winless season. "Just being healthy this year, it's really about my confidence being able to be more mobile and not have anything hold me back," he said.
"It's helped me, not only bring me confidence but bring my teammates confidence knowing that I'll always be out there, always working and there's not going to be any hindrances this year of what we can achieve."
Jackson, who has said he believes Garrett is "on the cusp of turning into a really, really good football player," has seen glimpses of that throughout organized team activities.
"I think that nothing is new to him now. I think that he knows how you go about studying, knowing your opponents a little bit better, understanding the system, understanding what (defensive coordinator) Coach (Gregg) Williams expects and wants from you at that position," he said. "I think the biggest thing for Myles is staying healthy. Obviously, hopefully, those issues are behind us and we have him out there every day, all the time and in every game. That's going to be the thing that gets him to where he needs to be."