Myles Garrett was already one of the fastest, most powerful defensive ends in the NFL before he entered last offseason. The 2017 No. 1 overall draft pick led the Browns with 13.5 sacks last season to earn his first career trip to the Pro Bowl.
Now, Garrett might be even faster. He hopes to enter this season with more ferocity after dropping almost 10 pounds before he arrived for training camp.
“I just felt like I needed my old speed back while keeping the strength I had the last two years,” Garrett said. “I feel like nothing’s really changed, and I feel like I’m adding some power to those speed moves.”
Garrett has constantly reached the backfield nine days into camp, and he put his quickness on display Saturday in front of 37,686 fans during the Browns’ Orange and Brown Scrimmage at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The lighter weight has probably helped with Garrett’s fast start to camp, so how did he lose it? He credits a not-so-easy diet that consists of two snacks a day, multiple bottles of water and “one big milk.”
Garrett weighs 262 pounds, which is about as light as he was as at Texas A&M. He thinks the added speed will help him win more trench battles by grabbing under an offensive tackle’s pads first, a crucial first step in attacking the backfield.
“The speed helps get power,” Garrett said, “and if you’re under somebody’s pads, you’re going to win.”
Garrett was already a quarterback nightmare before the weight loss. If his dominance in camp transitions to the regular season, well, watch out.
Check out photos from our Orange and Brown Scrimmage in association with Giant Eagle
— Garrett said there’s been no issues consistently switching sides of the field with Olivier Vernon. Both defensive ends — who each made the 2018 Pro Bowl — mostly played from the right side before Vernon was acquired from the New York Giants in March, but it appears that both will be effective no matter where they position at the line.
“It’s been a blast,” Garrett said about constantly switching sides. “Being inside, outside, left side, right side, it’s been fun just being on the field and making plays with my boy.”
— Kareem Hunt passed his physical and was cleared to practice Saturday for the first time in training camp after spending the first eight practices on the NFI list. He was a limited participant in drills has a chance to play in the first Browns preseason game Thursday.
“We were safe with him and careful in getting him back,” coach Freddie Kitchens said. “This was really his first chance to get back out, and I was pleased.”
— Wide receiver Derrick Willies has caught the eye of Kitchens, who has mostly held off from giving too much praise to players thus far.
“Last year, he demonstrated the ability to catch the ball and run after the catch with the ball,” Kitchens said. “He is a big target, of course — a big rangy target. Then he helped us out last year on special teams tremendously. He was really doing a good job on special teams and then he was coming on as a receiver. We expect him to keep coming and doing the same sort of things.”
— Kitchens appreciated the abundance of fans that showed up for the Browns’ first appearance at FirstEnergy Stadium this season. Proceeds from fans will go toward the Browns’ “Get 2 School” initiative that encourages students to attend school.
“I wanted to tell you how proud I am of the support that we had today because all these proceeds go to something our organization really believes in — the ‘Get 2 School’ program,” Kitchens said. “One-hundred percent from the ticket sales goes to that, and this a tremendous start for that narrative.”
— Garrett wasn’t too happy with his No. 49 ranking in the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2019 list. He joked that if he reached anything higher than No. 49 in the rankings again, it was time to retire.
“I’ll never be anything higher than No. 49 again,” Garrett said. “If I reach 49 again, it’s time to call it a day. I think better things are ahead for all of us.”
— Genard Avery (ankle), Seth DeValve (concussion), Phillip Gaines (neck), Trayone Gray (calf-NFI), Demetrius Harris (concussion), Duke Johnson Jr. (hamstring), Brian Price (concussion), Damion Ratley (hamstring), Sheldon Richardson (abdomen), Adarius Taylor (concussion), Chad Thomas (illness), Tavierre Thomas (hamstring) and Olivier Vernon (hamstring) did not practice Saturday.