Myles Garrett has always set goals for himself before the start of the regular season.
That list normally includes lofty seasonal feats, such as totaling double-digit sacks, earning All-Pro honors or winning Defensive Player of the Year. He's capable of reaching all of those achievements in his fourth season in Cleveland.
Those accolades, however, aren't at the top of Garrett's list for 2020. This season, Garrett kept his list short — he has only one goal on it.
"Winning. I want to go to the playoffs," he said Saturday in a video call with local reporters. "You have so many goals. Everybody wants to be All-Pro. Everybody wants to be the best at their position. Everybody wants to be Defensive Player of the Year or wants to be recognized for success they have had on the field, but the ultimate success is team success."
The Browns certainly have a roster talented enough to take the franchise to the playoffs, but many believed the roster was loaded last year, too. Instead, Cleveland finished 6-10 and struggled through a disappointing year.
Most of the team's top pieces are back for 2020, but the Browns, whose last season with a winning record was in 2007, have continued to keep a humble focus. Cleveland has plenty of reasons to believe it will be in the playoff race, and the return of Garrett is one of them. He missed the final six games last season due to a suspension, and his absence left an irreplaceable hole on the Browns' defensive line.
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Garrett wasn't the only key player missing for a crucial part of the season. DE Olivier Vernon missed six games and sparsely played when he returned after he suffered a knee injury in Week 9, but he's back to full health and has looked strong in training camp.
"[Vernon] is a problem on the end," Garrett said, "whether it is setting the edge, making plays on the run, getting to the quarterback, providing pressure, sacks and making them force the ball out earlier. That is invaluable. He is someone we count on, and we just play off each other."
Garrett is looked at as a leader on the defense. His job in training camp, however, is to attack the leader of the offense: Baker Mayfield. Sure, they're teammates and former No. 1 overall draft picks, but both spend more days competing against each other in practice than against other opponents on Sunday.
They both also realize how important this season is. The Browns have a talented roster and a new head coach in Kevin Stefanski, and the performances of Garrett and Mayfield will be a huge factor in how successful the season will be.
"I'm going to talk to him and talk trash when we make a big play on him. I know he is going to do the same thing when he makes a big play," Garrett said. "Just two young Texas boys who want to lead each side of the ball to success. He wants to do well on his side. He obviously wants to bounce back and have one hell of a year, and I want to do the same. We're kind of in the same boat. We're competitive. We want to be the best that we can be, and we know that last year was not that."
Garrett hadn't been able to battle against Mayfield in training camp until Saturday. He watched the first five team practices from the sidelines as he nursed a minor hamstring injury, but he returned Thursday is gradually working his way back to a 100 percent participant. He made his presence felt in team drills Saturday, providing constant pressure on Mayfield while lining up against RT Jack Conklin.
"I got over it pretty quick, and I'm hoping to get in on what the guys are doing on the defensive side," Garrett said. "It's certainly boring just standing around – I hate it – but I love supporting my teammates, so it kind of works both ways. I try to get hyped. When I get out there, I hope to make some big plays and show all I can do to my new coaches."
When he does return to practice, Garrett will have his seasonal goals — err, goal — in the back of his mind. Any individual accolades won't mean as much to Garrett this season without a big number in the "wins" column, and he's prepared to do as much as he can on defense to give the Browns a season full of victories.
"No matter how well I do, if we are no good, nobody will remember my season or what any of us did up front," he said. "I want us to ultimately have a stellar year as a defense, get to the playoffs and make a run. That's what I want to do."