BEREA — Teammates have seen a different Myles Garrett this season.
The NFL noticed.
Garrett, the 6-foot-4, 272-pound defensive end, was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month, the league announced Thursday. He registered six sacks, two forced fumbles and 14 tackles in October.
“He is on a mission, mentally. Physically, he has always been a freak and the way he can bend and move is just impressive,” left guard Joel Bitonio said. “He has always been there, but I think with missing some games last year (on a suspension) and being injured a couple of times, I think he wants to be on a mission to prove that he is the best pass rusher in the NFL.”
Garrett didn’t practice for the second straight day, but coach Kevin Stefanski still expected him to practice Friday in preparation for the game Sunday against the Raiders at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“We’re outside, so just want to be cautious,” Stefanski said before the team practiced in rainy and sloppy conditions. “He’ll get some work done inside.”
Garrett finished the 37-34 win over the Bengals on Sunday and had two sacks and a forced fumble. Stefanski said he tweaked the ankle during the game.
“Exactly. Nothing more than that,” he said.
Garrett led the league in sacks and sack yardage (53) in October and shared the lead with two strip-sacks. The Browns went 3-1 in the month.
He tops the league with nine sacks and is tied with four forced fumbles, all on strip-sacks. He has a league-best and franchise-record streak of a sack in six straight games.
“He has been a game-changer. He has changed the game many times this season,” Stefanski said. “That is those sack-fumbles — he has four — that is changing the game. It is changing the outcome of games.
“He knows that we are counting on him, he is a great football player, and we are going to need him for the rest of this season to continue to apply pressure to the Q, get the ball out. He is the straw that stirs the drink there.”
This is Garrett’s first monthly league award. He was Defensive Player of the Week for his performance Week 4 against the Cowboys when he had two sacks and a forced fumble.
Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson was the last Browns player to win the monthly defensive award, in September 2011.
“He has definitely been on a mission and he has been nothing but great,” running back Kareem Hunt said of Garrett. “Great teammate and a great player, and obviously you turn on the film you can see that.”