Myles Garrett

AFC North Notes: Browns, Brown, Ben

The Browns lost to the rebuilding Jets and are now 0-5 and, more importantly considering where this franchise stands in the NFL, 1-20 since their new power structure began its tenure. Consistent reports of friction between this team’s decision-making parties have come out of Cleveland, and Jimmy Haslam‘s patience may be wearing thin. The Sashi Brown/Paul DePodesta/Hue Jackson arrangement has yet to produce results, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes a league source predicted a major shakeup could come in the event of a Jets defeat. That happened, and the Browns benched starting quarterback DeShone Kizer for 2016 practice squad promotion Kevin Hogan in the process.

Haslam developed a deserved reputation for being impatient, abandoning previous regimes since taking over the Browns. But this one’s unique effort — placing an even greater premium on draft picks, at the expense of short-term results — has been allowed to persist thus far. However, Florio adds the perception by some around the league is the Browns’ obsession with draft picks doubles as a way for management to preach patience for future success — not unlike an MLB team stockpiling cornerstone high school talent and waiting several years for it to surface in the majors — while avoiding immediate responsibility for the on-field product.

With the Browns set to face the Texans and Texans before a Vikings tilt in London. A Patriots date follows that. Florio notes the London game could double as a Jackson firing window while adding the team could take the route the Lions did recently by firing GM Martin Mayhew and keeping coach Jim Caldwell. That would mean siding with Jackson over Brown. For his part, Jackson said postgame there was “no wavering support” from ownership, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com (on Twitter).

This franchise’s recent history points to a change happening soon. Here’s more from the AFC North.

  • Regarding Cleveland’s quarterback decision, Jackson did not say who he plans to start in Week 6. The second-year Browns coach indicated (via Nate Ulrich of ohio.com, on Twitter) he needed to watch film to decide between his second-round pick and Hogan, a Chiefs 2016 fifth-round who didn’t make the Kansas City roster out of camp last year. So instead of a Kizer-Deshaun Watson matchup next week, it could be Hogan in command. The Stanford product completed 16 of 19 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns today compared to Kizer’s 8-for-17, 94-yard, one-INT line.
  • Antonio Brown‘s outburst last weekend wasn’t solely motivated by frustrations on the field, with CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reporting the All-Pro wide receiver was upset by the Steelers‘ decision to remain in the tunnel for the national anthem instead of allowing players to make protest choices individually. Brown has strongly considered kneeling in protest during the anthem, but Ben Roethlisberger helped steer the team toward the stance of remaining in the entrance tunnel as a group during the anthem. Big Ben missing his top target for a would-be touchdown against the Ravens struck a chord with Brown, per La Canfora, who reports the wideout believed Roethlisberger’s decision not to locate him on that play was related to the two’s anthem-based argument. After a loss to the Jaguars today, Brown was diplomatic, saying (via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com) Roethlisberger was going to “bring the best out of us this week.”
  • Myles Garrett limped off the field in the fourth quarter of the Browns’ 17-14 loss but said he did not re-aggravate the high ankle sprain that kept him out for four weeks, Cabot tweets. The No. 1 overall pick described his ankle as merely being “very sore.”

Browns’ Myles Garrett To Debut On Sunday

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett sent Twitter into a frenzy on Wednesday morning with one word: “Regresé.” That’s Spanish for “I am back” and the No. 1 overall pick is indeed expected to take the field on Sunday against the Jets, executive Sashi Brown told reporters via conference call.Myles Garrett (vertical)

Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, has yet to play a down of regular season action thanks to a high ankle sprain. It’s possible that he could have returned a little sooner, but the Browns have opted to take the cautious approach with the Texas A&M product given his history of ankle issues.

He’s a huge piece of our organization, our future, so we want to be cautious but smart as we go through it,” coach Hue Jackson said in late September.

Garrett was limited to just ten games as a junior at Texas A&M thanks to this same injury. He registered 8.5 sacks, which were a career low, and 4.5 of those came against Texas-San Antonio.

Expectations are high for what Garrett can do now that he is healthy. Cleveland used the top pick on him after placing an “astronomical grade” on him during the 2016 season. At the combine, he weighed in at 272 pounds but managed to run the 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds.

Without Garrett, the 0-4 Browns have ranked 30th in defensive DVOA and just 21st in adjusted sack rate.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Pats, Browns, Raiders, Dolphins

Dont’a Hightower is expected to return to action for the Patriots on Sunday after missing each of the club’s past two games with a knee sprain, a source tells Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. New England, notably, ranks dead last in the NFL in points allowed, yards allowed, and defensive DVOA. With the Patriots’ defense clearly missing its leader, Hightower’s return can’t come too soon. As Howe writes, New England had been using Hightower as an edge defender, but several defensive mistakes could lead the Pats to shift Hightower back to his natural off-ball linebacker position. Elandon Roberts, and possibly Kyle Van Noy, will likely see his snaps reduced as a result of Hightower’s return.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • While Hightower will be back on the field in New England, the same can’t be said for Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who is expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Bengals, reports Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, hasn’t played a regular season down this year as he deals with a high ankle sprain. Browns head coach Hue Jackson has hinted on multiple occasions that Garrett is “close” to returning, but the Texas A&M product will have to wait until at least Week 5 to make his NFL debut. Without Garrett in tow, Cleveland ranks just 23rd in adjusted sack rate.
  • Raiders cornerback Sean Smith pleaded not guilty on charges of assault and battery stemming from an alleged July altercation, as Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes. The details of the incident are rather sordid, but Oakland head coach Jack Del Rio indicated the club would stand behind Smith until the legal process runs its course. On the field, Smith is no longer starting just one year after agreeing to a four-year, $38MM free agent contract. Thus far, he’s played only a quarter of the Raiders’ defensive snaps, fourth among Oakland corners.
  • Punter Brandon Fields has announced his retirement from the NFL following a nine-year career, his agent announced on Twitter. Fields, 33, last played for the Saints in 2015, but is most well-known for his eight-season run with the Dolphins from 2007-14. The former seventh-round pick appeared in 130 career games and maintained a yards per punt average of 46.7.

AFC Notes: Browns, Santos, Bills, Ravens

Barely a month after Danny Shelton sustained a knee injury, the Browns defensive tackle suffered a calf malady during practice Wednesday. The team acknowledged it could be serious, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com (on Twitter), but also maintains hope the setback could also be minor. Hue Jackson referred to the occurrence as “unfortunate.” This came on a non-contact play, and Cabot notes (via Twitter) Shelton already underwent an MRI. Shelton encountered knee trouble during training camp but returned in time for the regular season. The 2015 first-round pick became a breakout player for the Browns last season. The former Washington defensive tackle has not missed a game during his NFL career. Rookie third-rounder Larry Ogunjobi would be in line to see more time if Shelton ended up missing action.

Here’s the latest from the AFC, continuing with some better news out of northeast Ohio.

  • Myles Garrett returned to Browns practice Thursday, working out with the team for the first time since suffering a high ankle sprain just before the season’s outset. Jackson said on Wednesday the No. 1 overall pick might not see a full starter’s workload even if he is ready to play Sunday. The Browns are exercising caution with their top offseason investment, a player who’s struggled with ankle trouble since his junior year at Texas A&M. “He’s a huge piece of our organization, our future, so we want to be cautious but smart as we go through it,” the second-year coach said, via Pat McManamon of ESPN.com.
  • The Chiefs will consider making Cairo Santos one of their IR-boomerang players, Andy Reid said, via Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). Santos ventured to IR earlier this week after injuring his right groin during warmups Sunday in Los Angeles. Kansas City signed rookie Harrison Butker off the Panthers’ practice squad. A Santos re-emergence could get tricky, however. The Chiefs are likely planning to bring slot corner Steven Nelson off IR by Week 9, and teams can only pull two players off the injury list in a season. So it’s not certain Santos will get to continue kicking until next season.
  • Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson also ran into trouble during practice this week, suffering a groin injury Thursday, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com reports. A starter after missing most of his rookie season due to injury, Lawson has two sacks thus far. The recently signed Ryan Davis may be Buffalo’s top option if Lawson can’t play in Week 4.
  • Brent Urban‘s season-ending Lisfranc injury could conclude his time with the Ravens, with Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun writing the team will want to see if recent third-round picks Chris Wormley and Bronson Kaufusi are going to be worthy contributors. (Neither has played an NFL down.) However, Zreibec also notes Urban’s injury history — by the end of this season the former fourth-round pick will have played just 25 of 64 possible regular-season games with the Ravens — could make him a candidate to stay and rebuild his free agent stock. Urban started all three Ravens games this season, the first three starts of his career.

Injury Notes: Luck, Bradford, Garrett, Hawks

Despite reports that suggested the contrary, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will not begin practicing this week, head coach Chuck Pagano announced. Pagano gave a somewhat vague answer on Luck earlier this week, suggesting that while the signal-caller was “progressing well,” his return to practice was not guaranteed. Today, Pagano admitted that Luck is “at least” a week away from embarking on a throwing program. Luck, who is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, was not placed on the physically unable to perform list at the season’s outset, so there are no timetable restrictions on his return.

Here’s more from around the NFL, with a focus on injury situations:

  • Sam Bradford has missed each of the Vikings‘ past two contests as he deals with a knee issue, and while he didn’t practice today, Minnesota is “doing everything it can” to allow Bradford to play against the Lions on Sunday, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. Because Bradford isn’t dealing with any structural damage, pain management is the only barrier to him suiting up. If Bradford can’t go, the Vikings will once again turn to backup Case Keenum, who 25 of 43 pass attempts for a career-high 369 yards and three touchdowns against the Buccaneers in Week 3.
  • After hinting last week that defensive end Myles Garrett was “close” to a return, Browns head coach Hue Jackson once again reiterated that the 2017 No. 1 overall pick could attend practice this week, as Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal writes. “If he is able to play, we might not play him the whole game,” said Jackson. “So we’ll see how that unfolds if he’s able to go. We’ll find out more as we go through the week.” Garrett has been sidelined for the start of his rookie campaign after suffering an ankle injury during the preseason.
  • The Seahawks are expected to be without running back C.J. Prosise on Sunday as he deals with an ankle ailment, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Prosise hasn’t been a major contributor to Seattle’s offense thus far, as he’s managed only eight rushes and six receptions, but he has played on nearly a third of the club’s offensive snaps. The Seahawks will continue to lean on rookie Chris Carson — with dashes of Eddie Lacy and/or Thomas Rawls — when they face the Colts and their 11th-ranked (by DVOA) rush defense.

Browns DE Myles Garrett Nearing Return?

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett has made “huge progress” in his recovery from a high ankle sprain and is “close” to returning to the field, head coach Hue Jackson told reporters, including Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link). However, Jackson wouldn’t commit to Garrett being available for Sunday’s Week 3 contest against the Colts.Myles Garrett (Vertical)

[RELATED: Browns Place Corey Coleman On IR]

Without Garrett in tow, the Browns rank just 25th in defensive DVOA and 22nd in scoring. Clearly, Garrett alone won’t cure Cleveland’s defensive woes, but he should be able to improve the club’s adjusted sack rate of 4.4%, which ranks 25th in the NFL. Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib, and Nate Orchard have played as the Browns’ edge defenders, but all three have earned below average grades from Pro Football Focus.

Garrett, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2017 draft, also dealt with a foot injury this summer and had a history of foot issues during his time at Texas A&M.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Beckham, Stafford, Garrett

Last week, the NFL trade marketplace exploded. Thirty deals occurred since August 1, more than twice the average of the previous five years. Several anonymous execs attempted to explain (via Mike Sando of ESPN.com) theories behind the uptick. Tanking made its way into the conversation, with an executive citing the Jets, Bills and Browns’ recent moves as examples.

Every owner wants to win,” the exec said, via Sando, “but the real question is: Would you rather go 8-8 or 5-11 plus $30 million? If you are the Jets and you traded Sheldon (Richardson) and got rid of (Eric) Decker, isn’t the owner saying he’d rather go 2-14 and save $40 million than go 6-10? If you are the Bills with Watkins or the Browns with Joe Haden, is it the same thing?

A separate exec said teams are more willing to part with draft picks due to the current CBA’s practice-time limitations making it more difficult to develop players. The elimination of the 75-man cut date, age of certain GMs and GMs authorizing better, easier to trade contracts came up in Sando’s piece.

As the second half of opening night gets underway, here’s the latest from around the league as 28 other teams prepare for their openers.

  • Odell Beckham Jr. faces an uphill battle to play Sunday night, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link) the Giants superstar wideout suiting up against the Cowboys will leave him at far less than 100 percent. Rapoport added “a lot of things have to align perfectly” for the fourth-year player to play in Week 1. Beckham suffered a high ankle sprain in Cleveland just more than two weeks ago. Beckham caught a career-high 100 passes last season and played in all 16 New York games for the first time.
  • Matthew Stafford‘s NFL-record contract does not contain offset language, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. While Stafford’s five-year Lions extension profiles as a three- or four-year pact due to the structure of the guarantees, the quarterback who is not exactly regarded as a top-tier passer stands to play on this deal into his mid-30s. The Lions would not see another team — in the event Stafford is cut — offset any of the guaranteed money owed to Stafford in the event the sides part ways over the course of this deal. Stafford’s deal will come with cap hits of $16.5MM this season, $26.5MM (2018), $29.5MM (’19), $31.5MM (’20), $30MM (’21) and $23MM (’22).
  • Over the past year, Browns No. 1 pick Myles Garrett has dealt with two ankle injuries and a foot problem. Hue Jackson, though, will not label his top defensive end as injury-prone just yet. “No concern (of Garrett’s injury issues) because I know exactly how it happened,” said Jackson, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “If you get somebody thrown into your leg, it could happen to any one of our guys. If you guys would have seen it, it could happen to anybody on our football team. It is just unfortunate it happened to a guy who we wish was out there all of the time. That goes with it.” Cabot added Garrett is expected to be out multiple weeks as a result of the high ankle sprain — Garrett’s second in a year — sustained at practice Wednesday.

Browns Fear Myles Garrett Will Miss Games

Myles Garrett‘s struggled with injuries this offseason, and the rookie defensive end gave the Browns more cause for concern on Wednesday.

The No. 1 overall pick left practice due to an ankle injury, and Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports the team is worried about a multi-game absence for the potential star pass rusher. Cabot notes the Browns are concerned this injury could sideline Garrett for weeks.

Garrett left practice with a right ankle injury, and the former Texas A&M dynamo will undergo further testing — likely an MRI — before an official timetable emerges, per Cabot.

Garrett encountered left ankle trouble during his junior season with the Aggies, missing multiple games with a high ankle sprain. During minicamp, Garrett sprained his left foot that sidelined him for weeks. This caused him to be limited to start training camp.

Carl Nassib and Nate Orchard would stand to see more time if Garrett cannot play against the Steelers on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Garrett, Bengals, Dolphins, Revis

Browns top overall pick Myles Garrett suffered a left lateral foot sprain during last month’s mandatory minicamp. While there were some questions whether the defensive end would be ready for training camp, a recent tweet by the player should hush any pessimism.

As Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot writes, Garrett posted a video on Twitter earlier this week showing him leg pressing hundreds of pounds. The video was in response to a fan asking for an update on his foot injury, with the rookie responding “Ya know ….it’s doing alright.”

As Cabot notes, the team will presumably bring Garrett along slowly during the first few days of training camp, especially when you consider that the player suffered through a high left ankle sprain for much of his final season at Texas A&M. Roster Resource currently has Garrett slotted in as a starting defensive lineman beside Danny SheltonEmmanuel Ogbah, and fellow rookie Larry Ogunjobi.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the AFC…

  • Several ESPN writers weighed in on whether 2017 could be the final season for coach Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati. Jeremy Fowler believes he’ll be back with the Bengals if the team finishes with a winning record, while Jamison Hensley notes that the team has shown consistent regular season success under his leadership. On the flip side, Pat McManamon acknowledges that there’s been a “fair amount of chatter” that Lewis could ultimately move on, although he notes that the coach has no incentive to retire.
  • ESPN had a similar discussion with the sites AFC East reporters, asking whether the Dolphins should stick with Ryan Tannehill or look for a replacement. The general consensus is that it’s worth giving the quarterback at least one more season, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the organization to begin looking for a successor. Mike Rodak suggests that the Dolphins should pursue a rookie signal-caller in next year’s draft, while Rich Cimini says the organization should be eyeing any acquisition that could make them better long-term.
  • Could Darrelle Revis land with the Dolphins? Florida Football Insiders thinks so, as they cite the team’s efforts to improve via free agency and the veteran cornerback’s familiarity with the division. The writer believes Revis would be an upgrade over players like Byron Maxwell, Tony Lippett, Xavien Howard, and while his age is a concern, he should be a more-than-capable one-year stopgap. Earlier this week, our own Zach Links asked if Revis would even play in 2017, with around 54-percent of you answering “yes.”

North Notes: Golson, Browns, Lions

In the past few drafts, the Steelers have made a concerted effort to bolster their defensive backfield, an area that has been something of a weakness in the second half of the Ben Roethlisberger era. The team selected a cornerback on the first or second day of the last three drafts (Cam Sutton in 2017, Artie Burns in 2016, and Senquez Golson in 2015), and safety Sean Davis was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft. Pittsburgh’s secondary was improved last season, but after it was gashed by the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, the Steelers’ coaching staff plans to implement more man coverage in 2017, as Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. Dulac says the team is confident that Sutton and Burns can handle those concepts, but the staff is openly pessimistic about Golson, who has not played in a preseason or regular-season game in his two years in the league due to injuries. Golson, who is at least healthy enough to practice at the moment, seems to be on the verge of losing his roster spot altogether, and he may need to prove his worth on special teams just to make the club.

Now for more from the North:

  • Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman sit squarely atop the Browns‘ wide receiver depth chart, but the No. 3 job is wide open, and there are a number of second-years players who could fill that role. However, Dan Labbe of Cleveland.com says the team hopes Ricardo Louis, last year’s fourth-round selection, can be the guy. Though Louis appeared in all 16 games for the club last season, he caught just 18 passes for 205 yards, but given the big-play potential he flashed at Auburn, Cleveland will give him every opportunity to earn a key role this summer.
  • Speaking of Coleman, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says he will be eased into the grind of training camp, and he may not be a full-go from the first day of camp. The same is true of 2017 No. 1 overall selection Myles Garrett, who suffered a left lateral foot sprain in minicamp.
  • Lions safety Miles Killebrew, a fourth-round selection in 2016, was a fixture in the team’s dime package last season, but as Kyle Meinke of MLive.com writes, Killebrew could be in for a much bigger role in 2017. The Southern Utah product is currently listed as the third safety on the depth chart behind Glover Quin and Tavon Wilson, but Meinke believes Killebrew could push Wilson for the starting strong safety job with a solid training camp. As we learned yesterday, the Lions and Quin are discussing a new contract.
  • Jake Rudock lost the Lions‘ backup quarterback competition to Dan Orlovsky last season because of Orlovsky’s experience and knowledge of the team’s offense, but now Rudock himself is the player with the experience advantage. As Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com writes, Rudock’s grasp of OC Jim Bob Cooter’s scheme is miles ahead of rookie Brad Kaaya‘s, thereby making Rudock almost a lock for the backup job.