Myles Garrett made it easy for those tasked with deciding who would win AFC Defensive Player of the Month for October.
Garrett picked up at least one sack in all four games during the month and finished with six during the stretch. He also forced two more fumbles, giving him four on the season, while demanding plenty of extra attention from the Browns' opponents.
It was a remarkable month for a remarkable player who is still getting better.
"He has been a game-changer," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. "He has changed the game many times this season. That is those sack fumbles – he has four – that is changing the game. It is changing the outcome of games. He knows that we are counting on, he is a great football player, and we are going to need him for the rest of this season to continue to apply pressure to the Q, get the ball out.
"He is the straw that stirs the drink there."
Though Garrett collected six sacks in October, the rest of Cleveland's defensive line accounted for just half of a sack. The rest were collected by an assortment of the team's linebackers and defensive backs.
Garrett has more sacks himself than a handful of NFL teams this season — including Sunday's opponent, Las Vegas, at FirstEnergy Stadium — and the Browns ranked eighth overall in the NFL. Still, there's room for more, and defensive coordinator Joe Woods sees players such as Sheldon Richardson, Olivier Vernon and Larry Ogunjobi on the cusp of adding to the team's total in the near future.
"It is not always the sacks, to be honest with you," Woods said. "It is really pressuring the quarterback, moving him off the spot, getting him to throw the ball a little bit quicker, and I feel like we have done that. And I think the guys will eventually get him.
"Right now, I think Myles is playing really well, and we need him to continue to do that."
Check out exclusive photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the Las Vegas Raiders
Garrett was sidelined for a second straight day as he continued to deal with an ankle injury. Stefanski said the team exercised caution with Garrett because Thursday's practice was outside in slick conditions.
Stefanski said he expects Garrett to practice in some capacity Friday.
C JC Tretter (knee) returned to practice in limited capacity. Tretter received medical attention from trainers early in last week's game but never missed a snap.
"It did not feel good," Tretter said Wednesday. "Kind of got rolled up, foot got stuck in the ground and twisted around. It did not feel great at the time. Got off the field, got checked out in the tent and then I tested it and wanted to make sure I was still strong enough to play and then went back out there.
"We are going to do what we have always done, just take care of it, get a plan in place and just follow the plan."
Stefanski said G Wyatt Teller (calf) was "doubtful" to return for Sunday's game. Teller has missed the past two games with his injury.
Pass It On
The Browns are a perfect 3-for-3 on the season when someone other than a quarterback throws a pass.
Jarvis Landry has completed two of them, including last week's 25-yarder to Donovan Peoples-Jones in the fourth quarter. Landry, who fired a career-best 63-yard pass in 2018, threw a touchdown pass in the Browns' Week 4 win over the Cowboys.
"I think there is an element of fun there," Stefanski said. "I think it gets our players' attention in practice, which is sometimes hard to do. When you install those plays early on a Wednesday morning, they kind of perk up and sit up in their chair. Not going to say we are doing it every game. Maybe we will. I think it just adds another element that the defense has to get ready for."
On top of the pass to Peoples-Jones, Landry got the ball in his hands earlier in the game against Cincinnati and quickly dished it off to RB Kareem Hunt on a designed option pitch. The Bengals snuffed it out and dropped Hunt close to the line of scrimmage.
"You are going to call some of those and you are going to hope for a look, and sometimes you do not get exactly what you want. The outcome was we retained possession of the ball, which is important," Stefanski said. "We do not anticipate that every single time we do something outside the box that it is going to be a big hit. We are just going to keep testing the limits and thinking outside the box, and again, just try to make ourselves tough to defend."