Myles Garrett might be his own biggest critic as the Browns prepare for their season finale in Pittsburgh.
The rookie defensive end and first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft leads Cleveland with six sacks despite missing five games because of injuries and nearly made the play of the season — an interception return for a touchdown that was called back because of an offsides penalty — in Sunday's loss to the Bears.
Garrett remains less than pleased.
"I did well, but not up to my standards," he said Friday. "I want to be a force in this league, I don't feel like I did that."
To be sure, Garrett — who totaled 31 sacks at Texas A&M before wowing the NFL world at last winter's annual scouting combine — has shown glimpses of why the Browns believe he'll be a cornerstone for years to come.
"I think he started to get into the routine of the National Football League just having to go against offenses when they prepare for him, when they are chipping him, when they are turning to him, when they are trying to cut him and just all of those different things," coach Hue Jackson said. "He went through that process, and I think he got on top of that and came back and kept playing stronger and harder. I think he understands that this is a grind. First seasons for guys are tough, but I'm happy with what he has done thus far. I want him to finish strong this Sunday."
Garrett, who missed the first four games of the season because of a high-ankle sprain and then another because of a concussion, hopes to end 2017 on a high note. As the Browns search for their first win — they must defeat Pittsburgh to avoid the franchise's first winless season — defensive coordinator Gregg Williams plans on Garrett putting his best foot forward.
"His pride is impressive, and hopefully yours is too. If you're not a prideful person, you're never going to be a successful person. Someone is looking to replace your seat that you all are sitting in. He is a very, very, prideful, well-raised young man with that family," he said. "There are a lot of guys that come into the league that have no family background. They are struggling to learn. They are struggling for discipline and accountability. Not him, but he's extremely prideful and I will be shocked if it's not immediately visible next year."
With an eye toward next season, the Browns believe Garrett will make a significant jump in Year 2.
"I think the sky's the limit for Myles. I don't want to say what the number [of sacks] will be or anything like that, but I just think he has to take in everything he learned this past year, have a great offseason, stay healthy and then head into the offseason program ready to go," Jackson said.
"I think Myles is going to be one of the better pass rushers in this league. I still feel that. I see it, and it is just a matter of how that is going to happen and how that is going to unfold. I think it is definitely going to happen here pretty soon."
Williams added he doesn't expect the rookie to rest much over the offseason. Garrett, presented with that information, agreed.
"He knows me well," he said with a smile. "I'm going to be using my time wisely."