BEREA — Myles Garrett will likely have to wait until his second season to get his first shot at Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
He’s not happy about it.
“I’ve been waiting for my chance, and I know they probably think of it as a smart move to probably sit him and rest him for the playoffs,” Garrett, a defensive end, said Friday. “But I’d really like to go and get my chance to play against him, seeing as he’s an elite quarterback and been doing it for so long and so well.”
Garrett, who identified Roethlisberger as his “first target” on draft weekend, missed the opener against Pittsburgh with a high right ankle sprain. Roethlisberger is expected to sit Sunday in the finale at Pittsburgh as coach Mike Tomlin tries to keep his best players healthy for the playoffs. Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell is also expected to rest.
Garrett turned 22 Friday and reflected on his first season after being the No. 1 pick. He’s played 10 games — he missed four games with the ankle and another with a concussion — and has six sacks, 28 tackles, a pass defensed and a fumble recovery.
“Did well but not up to my standards,” he said. “I want to be a force in this league and didn’t feel like I did that this year, but there is always next year and there is always the next game.”
Garrett said the pace of the NFL game was an adjustment and he learned quarterbacks get rid of the ball in a hurry and big plays don’t happen often.
“Guys here are more athletic,” he said. “They can slip away, they get the ball off and so once you get there, you have to make sure you finish it, make it count, because big plays are what you live off of.”
Coordinator Gregg Williams said Garrett has “tremendous fire” and is “extremely prideful,” and therefore predicted a better second season. Coach Hue Jackson went further with his expectations.
“I think Myles is going to be one of the better pass rushers in this league. I still feel that,” he said. “I see it, and it is just a matter of how that is going to happen and how that is going to unfold. I think it is definitely going to happen here pretty soon.”
“I feel like if I’m able to be healthy the whole season, not have any setbacks, then I can achieve those goals and exceed them,” he said. “So I’m glad he’s still excited about what I can do, and hopefully I can live up to everything he imagines.”
He said he’ll take a week or two after the season to make sure the right ankle is completely healthy, then get back to work.
“I’m going to be using my time wisely, whether it is getting myself in playing shape, better shape or working on my rush moves,” he said.
Garrett looked perfectly fine last week against the Bears when he returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown that was wiped out by a penalty.
“He looked like an unbelievable athlete,” Williams said. “Did you see him run away from everybody else? He ran like a receiver.”
“I’m faster than most people think probably,” Garrett said. “But just get me out in space and I can make some plays. So with the ball in my hands or without the ball in my hand, I can be a force.”