The Cleveland Browns spent a lot of money to transform the defensive line from a weakness into a strength, but the casual fan wouldn’t know it based on the unit’s performance over the past two weeks.
However, the line struggled to put meaningful pressure on opposing quarterbacks in those defeats.
Pressure that impacts a game isn’t always defined by sacks, though the stat is among the best barometers for that element of a defense, and the Browns have zero sacks over the past two weeks.
Schwartz spoke to that deficiency during a media session on Friday, December 8, and he didn’t hold back with his comments.
“We’ve been two weeks now without a defensive line sack, and for us — that’s not us. We’re not built that way,” Schwartz said. “We put a lot of resources up front, we have a lot of good players up front, we have a lot of talent up front, and we’re at our best when we can generate pressure with [a] four-man pass rush. And in that game [against the Los Angeles Rams], the only time we were really able to generate any pressure was some blitz stuff. So, we get to get back to that.”
Jim Schwartz Says Entire Browns D-Line to Blame for Lack of QB Pressure
While Garrett’s health could be an explanation for the defensive line’s lack of pressure, no one on the team is putting much voice behind that theory — an unsurprising development considering the “no excuses” nature of professional football.
Instead, Schwartz is calling out everyone on the line, including defensive ends Za’Darius Smith ($11.7 million over one year and draft assets via trade) and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo ($19 million over three years in free agency), both of whom the Browns paid handsomely to acquire last offseason.
“We get to get back to clocking the quarterbacks and to building everything off of our four-man pass rush. And that’s just not Myles, that’s Z, Ogbo, Dalvin [Tomlinson] and everybody else,” Schwartz continued.
“We’ve had eight guys not have sacks for a couple of weeks, and that’s something that’s definitely on our radar. And when we’re at our best, we can blitz on our terms as opposed to having the blitz to get pressure. We’re built that way. I expect to get back to it.”
Myles Garrett Speaks to Injury, Criticism From Browns DC Jim Schwartz
Regardless of what everyone else on the defensive line is doing, a healthy Garrett will unquestionably bolster the unit’s production. Reporters inquired as to the defensive end’s health during a media session on Friday.
“Still here. Feeling alright,” Garrett said. “It is what it is. It’s midseason for everyone. We need to recover, get treatment, do all those things to take care of my body. That’s the strength of the season, it’s about longevity and consistency. It’s nothing unlike what everyone else is going through.”
However Garrett is feeling come game time Sunday, Cleveland will have two distinct advantages in Week 14 that it didn’t have in the two contests prior.
First, the Browns will be playing at home. Second, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence will either be out or significantly hampered by a high ankle sprain he suffered on Monday Night Football in a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Garrett also spoke to those circumstances Friday.
“Game time decision [on Lawrence],” the defensive end said. “But you never know with these kinds of cases.”
He later responded to Schwartz’s comments from the previous day.
“We deserved to get chewed out for not getting [a sack],” Garrett said. “That’s something that we pride ourselves on, applying pressure to the pocket and making it difficult for those guys, and that hasn’t happened the last two weeks. There are no excuses for that.”