BEREA — Defensive end Myles Garrett was informed Friday that defensive line coach Clyde Simmons led the NFL with 19 sacks in 1992 with the Eagles.
Garrett immediately set a new goal.
“Oooh, might have to pick it up then,” Garrett said. “I think I can go for that this year.”
Garrett, the No. 1 pick in 2017, is off to a strong start with five sacks in five games. He wasn’t satisfied, even before the Simmons information.
“One a game is good and 16 (in a season) is great, but I need some more highlight games, some games that you go back and you’re like, ‘He took over,’” Garrett said. “The Steelers might have been one of them, but I need some more of those.”
Garrett opened the year with two sacks against Pittsburgh, was blanked by the Saints, had two more against the Jets, then picked up half-sacks vs. the Raiders and Ravens. He was close to several sacks against Oakland but had a tougher time against Baltimore.
“A lot of double teams, a lot of chips,” he said. “It was rough. I kind of got tired out with all that was coming toward me. I just have to weather the storm. I know that a one-on-one will come and I have to take advantage of it. My motor’s not going to stop.”
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is the next target Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium. Garrett came up empty in the meeting last year, but Rivers walked away impressed.
“I thought he was a heck of a player. He has even improved,” he said. “He is not just your ‘line up at end and rush.’ He can do that with the best of them, but his ability when he is stemming down to the A gap and doing so many different things in there in the blitz packages, he still finds a way so relentlessly rushing.”
Garrett has been penalized for being offside four times, including twice last week in the overtime win over the Ravens. He said he never guesses on the snap count but takes off when he sees the slightest movement by the tackle or ball.
“Honestly, I feel like more than a couple times I’ve been right with the ball. I might have been a little bit too fast for the ref, so he might have to catch up to me,” he said.
He knows he’s walking a fine line but is willing to gamble.
“As soon as that ball starts to inch forward, I’m flying off the ball whatever the consequences may be, he said. “Whether it’s a sack or an offside, I’m going to make up for it.”
Hall of Fame end Bruce Smith told Garrett last year he needed to have a quicker get-off, so he’s been studying keys trying to pick up a split-second. It’s a different world from his days at Texas A&M.
“I was just fast,” he said. “It was really just anticipation, really instincts.”
Joe Thomas will be honored throughout the game Sunday, as “10,363” will be enshrined in the Ring of Honor to recognize his NFL-record consecutive snaps streak. He’s the first player to be honored since the Ring of Honor was established in 2010.
Thomas retired in March after 11 seasons and 10 trips to the Pro Bowl.
“There are some guys that did everything the right way, meant a lot to the franchise and there’s really no reason to hold off and wait to celebrate what their career meant to the city, to the team, to the franchise, to everything,” center JC Tretter said. “And Joe’s a perfect example of that.”
The Ring of Honor is made up of the team’s 16 Hall of Famers. Thomas is expected to enter that elite group in five years, and would earn a second space in the Ring.
“That’s kind of selfish of him to take two spots like that,” Garrett joked. “But that’s definitely a pretty impressive feat. So it’s important to be recognized.”
Thomas will serve as the honorary Dawg Pound Captain during a break in the first quarter, when the snap streak will be unveiled. The Browns will give away 10,363 commemorative Joe Thomas bobbleheads to fans after gates open at 11 a.m.
Thomas’ streak ended last season when his triceps ruptured during a game.
“I will never forget walking on that field when he was down there and him not being able to get up, understanding that this might be it,” coach Hue Jackson said. “To watch and look back on his career and see what he has done, man, that is amazing to me. It just tells you how important football was to him.”
Jackson and many of his players are fans of the brown “color rush” uniforms the team wore in home victories over the Jets and Ravens. Jackson said the team’s only allowed to wear them three times in a season, per NFL rules.
“So that is disappointing. Maybe they should call the league and petition for those to become our uniforms,” he said. “I love those uniforms. They are hot.”
“They’re clean, man,” receiver Rod Streater said. “Look good in it, play good in it.”
** The “Rally Possum” has taken on a life of its own. A fan found a possum in the stands at FirstEnergy Stadium before the Jets game Sept. 20, and it’s become a good-luck charm. The team is selling “Rally Possum” plush toys at the team shop.
“Please put that possum out there on Sunday,” Jackson said. “Then let’s find a whole bunch of them and stick them in the stands.”
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams enjoys the “Rally Possum” but took the conversation in a different direction.
“I thought that it was funny,” he said. “I grew up hunting those things and had to eat them. There is a special way that you have to cook them if you are ever going to eat them. I will not go into that.”
KICKING IT AROUND
Ravens safety Tony Jefferson confirmed to Baltimore reporters he got a hand on Greg Joseph’s winning 37-yard field goal in overtime that barely cleared the crossbar. Joseph said after the game he heard a second thud after he connected with the ball.
** Rookie running back Dontrell Hilliard is expected to return kickoffs against the Chargers. Special teams coordinator Amos Jones said he isn’t ready to return punts.
** The Chargers signed rookie kicker Michael Badgley on Thursday. Caleb Sturgis (quadriceps) was limited in practice all week and listed as questionable on the injury report.
Receivers Rashard Higgins (knee) and Derrick Willies (shoulder) and backup linebacker Tanner Vallejo (concussion) were ruled out. Backup linebacker James Burgess (knee) was listed as questionable on the official injury report.
** For the Chargers, defensive end Joey Bosa (foot), receiver Travis Benjamin (foot) and linebacker Kyzir White (knee) were ruled out. Right tackle Joe Barksdale (knee), left tackle Russell Okung (groin) and Sturgis were listed as questionable.
** Cornerback Denzel Ward was named NFL rookie of the week for the second time in five games. He had an interception, a blocked field goal, five tackles and two other passes defensed.
** Hall of Famer Jim Brown watched practice, a day after visiting President Donald Trump and rapper Kanye West in the Oval Office.