For the first time in a long time, the Cleveland Browns can say that they’re relatively healthy.
Nearly the entire 53-man roster has been out on the practice field, save for safety Damarious Randall, who’s dealing with a nagging hamstring injury. However, a new name was added to the injury report on Thursday in Pro Bowl defensive end Myles Garrett, who has a knee issue. The third-year pass-rusher was not previously mentioned on the report.
On his weekly radio show on Thursday night, head coach Freddie Kitchen said he thinks Garrett will be just fine, saying the knee was “kind of an ongoing thing. Flared up. He’ll be fine going forward.”
After playing just 11 games his rookie year, Garrett hasn’t missed a game since, playing in all six this year and 16 a year ago.
Bill Belichick: Myles Garrett ‘Impossible to Block’
As the NFL sack leader, Garrett is obviously a key piece for the Browns if they hope to upset the Patriots as a nearly two-touchdown underdog. He has the admiration of New England skipper Bill Belichick, who complimented Garrett earlier in the week.
“Thinking about I wish we didn’t have to play against him. He is pretty much impossible to block,” Belichick said. “They put him in a lot of different places so you do not always know where he is going to be, but wherever he is, you better find him and block him or he will ruin the game.
“He impacts the game defensively. Better be able to handle on their play or he can ruin a game for you.”
Garrett was asked about those kind words from Belichick this week.
“It is a major compliment from one of the best to ever do it,” Garrett said. “Definitely appreciate it. At the end of the day, compliments are not going to stop me from getting to (Patriots QB Tom) Brady.”
Myles Garrett Wants to Make Tom Brady See Ghosts
Putting pressure on the 42-year-old Brady is one of the only ways to slow down the Patriots juggernaut offense, which leads the NFL in points scored per game.
“It is easier said than done,” Garrett said. “You say you can get to him and sack him, but I think he is the fastest this year at getting the ball off and getting it out of his hands. You have to make sure that he is out there seeing ghosts, he is holding the ball, he is patting it and he is looking for other options, and you can have some time to get the ball out of his hands, strip him and get the ball to your offense.”
The “seeing ghosts” comment is in reference to a mic’d up clip from Jets quarterback Sam Darnold last week on Monday Night Football, which quickly went viral.
Now it will be Browns second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield who has to deal with the Patriots top ranked defense, which has registered a league-high 18 interceptions this season. Mayfield leads the league with 11 interceptions.
“Obviously, they are a well-coached team. That is just plain and simple,” Mayfield said. “They are aggressive. They give their secondary the chance to play aggressive and have eyes in the backfield to see where the ball is thrown, and then they are always in the right place at the right time. It is part of being well coached, guys knowing exactly what they need to do and doing their job. They play well with each other.”