Browns Star Myles Garrett Responds to Criticism Over Missed OTAs

Myles Garrett

Getty Browns defensive end Myles Garrett.

Myles Garrett skipping out on the Cleveland Browns OTAs was much ado about nothing, per the Pro Bowl pass-rusher.

As the leader of the defense, Garrett was a notable absence at the practices. The Browns coaching staff — including new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz — got their first hands-on opportunity to work with players at OTAs and Garrett would have also had a chance to work with some of his new teammates on the defensive line, like Za’Darius Smith and Dalvin Tomlinson.

Garrett’s production has been off the charts since arriving in Cleveland. He’s been named to four Pro Bowls and has four All-Pro selections — two first-team and a pair of second-team selections. But where Garrett has caught a little bit of criticism at times is in the leadership department.

However, Garrett said that he had clear communication with the coaching staff on his plans for the offseason and was productive as he prepared on his own. After all, the OTA sessions were optional and he wasn’t the only one away from the team.

“I mean, it was really just a communication with coach. Just getting on the same page about when he wanted me here, when he didn’t. Making sure that I got up here early to meet with the new coaches, talking to the new guys, make sure that we had a dialogue and everything was communicated thoroughly so that there was nobody on the wrong page,” Garrett said on June 6. “And so we got it all worked out. And I was where I needed to be, working on my game, taking care of myself and my health. And I think it’s all worked out.”

Browns DE Myles Garrett Dealing With Toe Injury

Garrett credited head coach Kevin Stefanski for listening to the veterans on the team in terms of their preparation plans. Nick Chubb, Joel Bitonio and David Njoku were other players absent from OTAs.

“That’s what it means to have a true players’ coach, someone willing to listen to his players’ and what they need and how they view themselves getting better,” Garrett said. “And when I’m here, I’m all in and I’m doing exactly what everyone else is doing. But when I have the opportunity to get away and go where I think I can take it up another notch and grow as a person, as a player, he’s been willing to give me that freedom.”

Garrett has been dealing with a toe injury he suffered while doing the obstacle course during the Pro Bowl. It’s still hurting but Garrett doesn’t feel like it will slow him down.

“A little sore every now and then, but it’s not going to hold me back,” Garrett said. “A sore big toe, and we’ll still get sacks.”

Myles Garrett Excited to Team-up With Za’Darius Smith

Myles Garrett and Zadarius Smith

GettyCleveland Browns pass-rusher Myles Garrett and Za’Darius Smith.

Garrett will have some new new pass-rush partners in Smith and Ogbo Okoronkwo. Garrett said the group plans to “take off the seatbelt” and make life consistently uncomfortable for opposing quarterbacks.

“I think the guys that we have are very talented in many ways, and there’s a lot of different skillsets that we have on the D-line,” Garrett said. “But you have a lot of guys who have just been waiting on this opportunity that we have, this freedom that we’ve been given.”

Schwartz is running an attacking scheme that focuses a lot on the guys up front getting pressure. Garrett has a lot of faith in his new defensive coordinator creating favorable matchups.

“He’s going to put me in position and us in position to make plays. I don’t think he’s just going to be looking for 95 and make one-on-ones,” Garrett said. “And if the offense chooses to not let me get a one-on-one that day, then we just have to make sure the other guys are freed up and able to make plays.”

Garrett is a favorite for Defensive Player of the Year, coming in at +750. He’s behind only Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (+650).

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