Myles Garrett knows nothing will come easy for the Browns pass rush this week as it looks to spoil the debut of Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields.
Fields was selected 11th overall in the 2021 draft after he became one of the top quarterback prospects following an impressive final two seasons at Ohio State. His accuracy and nimbleness in the pocket are among his strengths, and he's already showed a few glimpses of how they could translate to the NFL level.
But he hasn't started a game yet for the Bears. That'll happen Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium, and it's up to Garrett and the Browns defense — looking to climb out of a slow start to the season — to stop him.
"They're not going to let him sit back and let us pass rush the whole day," he said Friday. "After we have stopped the run and we have kept him in the pocket … once we do our best to lock down all of that and make him a drop back passer, then we will have a chance to get after him."
The defense knows they have to show improvements within their own game first to accomplish that goal.
Players and coaches have spoken all week about the changes they must make to become a better unit, one that currently ranks 21st in the NFL in points allowed. The group ranks last in the league in third down conversions allowed (63 percent) and has recorded only three sacks despite boasting two premiere edge rushers on the D-Line in Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney.
Garrett doesn't believe the first two games are an accurate barometer for how the defense will play the rest of the season. He's confident the group will continue to jell — there's too much veteran talent for them not to.
"It's what happens when we have a lot of new guys, not only as a player, but as a coach," Garrett said. "We expect (everyone) to make plays, and we're finding ways to make plays right now. Right now, (defensive coordinator Joe Woods) is just trying to find the best way to make plays with the pieces that he has. Right now, he's got to see what we're made of and how we can make the most of ourselves on the field."
Check out exclusive photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the Chicago Bears
The Browns didn't expect their defense to dominate on a consistent basis from the start, but they can take a big step toward proving they can reach that level if they stop Fields.
It won't be an easy task. Even though he's a rookie, Fields has a precise arm and is nimble in the pocket, which are some of the skills that Patrick Mahomes and Tyrod Taylor brought against the Browns in their first two games. Fields' stat line — eight-of-15 for 70 yards, one interception and one rushing touchdown from 34 rushing yards on 11 carries — doesn't show those skills, but the Browns aren't taking anything lightly when it comes to preparing for the rookie.
"He is bigger than most guys that have that kind of speed," Garrett said. "Justin is like a complete drop-back quarterback but has some speed in him."
The Browns are expecting the Bears to run a style of offense that will protect Fields and avoid overloading him with too much pressure in the pocket. Chicago has used run-pass options as one way of doing that so far, and the Browns have spent time preparing on making those instincts and reads at the point of the snap this week.
If the Bears continue that trend, Garrett and Clowney will be ready to pounce horizontally off the line of scrimmage.
"We're fast, too," Garrett said. "We'll have to watch the read and see if he wants to pull it, and if he does, we'll be ready."