Myles Garrett enters the second half of the 2023 NFL season as a clear Defensive Player of the Year candidate, leading one of the best units in the NFL and spearheading the Cleveland Browns to a 5-3 record ahead of Sunday’s showdown with the Baltimore Ravens.
Garrett, however, sees more to come.
“I think I’m nearing my prime, the peak of my powers,” Garrett told The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday. “I think it’s just matching that experience and that wisdom as well as my athletic ability. Both of those being combined, I think that’s really taken my game to another level.”
Garrett has shined in defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s scheme. Through eight games, Garrett’s generated 9.5 sacks and 18 QB hits, both second-most in the NFL. He leads the league with four strip-sacks. Garrett’s 19.4 pressure percentage ranks sixth in the NFL, and he’s getting home better than anyone else, netting a league-high 4.8 sack percentage, per Next Gen Stats.
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“I’ve got to give credit to my teammates and Jim Schwartz because without those guys and him putting us in position to make plays, none of that’s possible,” he said. “He’s willing to line me up anywhere and, and try out stuff. He knows I’m going to do my thing. He’s like, ‘We’ll get you one on one and you’ll wreak havoc, so go do it.'”
We expected Schwarz’s defense to boost Garrett and the rest of the pieces on the Browns D, but the play through four weeks might have surpassed even those lofty predictions.
Garrett noted that the DC “bundles effort with swag,” putting players in the proper positions to make plays and encouraging personalities to shine.
Sunday’s showdown against the Ravens will feature two of the top units in the NFL.
The Browns (234.8 total YPG allowed) and Ravens (262.6 total YPG allowed) rank first and second in the NFL in total defense in 2023. Cleveland also ranks first in pass YPG allowed (145.0) and opponent third-down percentage (26.0). Meanwhile, Baltimore ranks first in points per game allowed (13.8), sacks per game (3.9) and opponent passer rating (69.7).
Cleveland must be much better on the road Sunday than in previous weeks. Through eight games, the Browns have allowed 10.2 PPG in five games at home but 29.3 PPG in three road games in 2023. Only Baltimore (10.0) has allowed fewer PPG at home than Cleveland.
In Week 4, the Browns held Baltimore to 296 yards of offense, 16 first downs, and 4 of 12 on third downs but lost 28-3 in a game started by rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The Ravens are the only team to put up more than 17 points in Cleveland this season.
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