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Myles Garrett named AP 2023 NFL Defensive Player of the Year

Garrett led the Browns with 14 sacks in another dominant season

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Myles Garrett culminated the 2023 season with the highest accolade on Thursday.

Garrett was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year at the NFL Honors. It is the first time in his career that he was won Defensive Player of the Year.

"Myles Garrett, Defensive Player of the Year. Hopefully the first of several," Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry said. "We are so proud of him. We see how hard he works every day. He represents our city and our franchise at such a high level. It's not just what he does on the field, but what he does off the field as well. Obviously, he's as dominant as a force as there is in the entire league and we're so proud."

He tops of this season with this prestigious honor, as well as a number of other accolades highlighting his 2023 season. He led the Browns with 14 sacks and finished the season tied for seventh in the NFL. His 14 sacks tied for third-most by a Brown in a season.

Garrett is also the only NFL player to record at least 14 sacks in each of the past three seasons and the only player to record at east 10 sacks in each of the past six seasons. Garrett is the Browns all-time sack leader with 88.5.

Outside of total sacks, Garrett's presence in the pass rush forced opposing offenses to game plan for him. Garrett finished the 2023 season with six quarterback hurries, 16 quarterback knockdowns and 30 quarterback hits. He totaled 37 pressures, alongside his 42 total tackles – 33 of which were solo tackles – and 17 tackles for loss. Garrett added three passes defended, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick.

"With Myles, the other unique thing about him, teams do everything in their power to make sure he doesn't make those disruptive plays," coach Kevin Stefanski said in his end-of-season press conference on Jan. 14. "So, he's getting a tight end, he's getting – the line is sliding to him, they're running away from him, those type of things. […] If you look at his impact overall, it was unbelievable."

The Browns finished the 2023 as one of the top defenses in the league. They led the NFL in total defense – allowing just 270.2 yards per game – and passing defense – allowing just 164.7 yards per game. They also had the best third down percentage in the league during the 2023 season with 29.1 percent, allowing just 67 third down completions out of 230 attempts. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said that Garrett played a critical role in their success in third down situations.

Throughout the 2023 season, both Stefanski and Schwartz consistently advocated for Garrett to be in the conversation. And Garrett's on-field dominance backed up their words on a weekly basis.

Schwartz said over the course of his career, he's seen three players still be effective and play at a high level even as opposing teams game plan for them. That listed included Calvin Johnson, Ray Lewis and Garrett.

"In my mind, the definition of a great defense or a great player is when an opponent starts their game plan with, we're going to take care of this guy, right? Like, we're not going to let this guy beat us. And he's still able to be effective and he's still able to play at a high level," Schwartz said in December. "Myles fits in that category – affects the game, helps other people make plays."

Garrett earned a number of accolades following the 2023 season. He was voted PFWA's Defensive Player of the Year and Sporting News' Defensive Player of the Year and 2023 NFL All-Pro Team. He earned his fifth All-Pro selection of this career when he was named Associated Press First Team All-Pro.

Since assistant special teams coach and special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone has been in the NFL beginning in 2005, he's never been around a player like Garrett. For the last year, he's been able to watch up close just how dominant Garrett is on the field.

"It's unbelievable," Ventrone said in December. "I think when you actually get to see him in person, it just looks way different. And to me, he's hands down. It's not even a question. He's hands down the best football player in the league. Defensively, he's hands down the best. There's no one that's even remotely close to him, in my opinion."

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