Browns’ Myles Garrett has chance to carve up Jets’ offense

Mark W. Sanchez

By Mark W. Sanchez

If the Browns’ Myles Garrett unleashes hell on the Jets on Sunday, blame God.

“The good Lord was on his A-game when he built Myles,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said before his team practiced in Florham Park on Friday.

That sounds about right for a defensive end listed as 6-foot-4 and 272 pounds while chiseled in a way no 272-pound man should be. The first-overall pick from 2017 has lived up to expectations and has terrorized quarterbacks, with 60.5 sacks in 69 career games for Cleveland.

“He doesn’t have a flaw to his game,” Saleh said of Garrett, who is quick enough to chase down just about any quarterback. “He’s big. He’s got everything. When he turns it on, he is impossible to block.”

“He’s an absolute problem,” Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said.

The Jets offense will have to face a tough challenge on Week 2.
Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

Right tackle Max Mitchell, a rookie fourth-round pick out of Louisiana who has been forced into the lineup because of injuries to Mekhi Becton and Duane Brown, potentially will be asked to slow Garrett for the showdown in Cleveland. The Jets are starting Mitchell and left tackle George Fant in a makeshift offensive line that did not impress in the season-opening loss to the Ravens.

“Definitely an opportunity,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell mostly held up in his first career NFL game. His second likely will be more difficult.

“It’s an opportunity to get my name a little bit more status there,” the 22-year-old said. “You don’t get to be the best by not playing the best.”

Making matters even more challenging for the Jets is the fact Garrett, who sacked Carolina’s Baker Mayfield twice in Week 1, cannot command every bit of their attention. On the other side of the Browns’ defensive line is Jadeveon Clowney, giving Cleveland a duo that Jets guard Alijah Vera-Tucker said will probably be as impressive as any two pass rushers they will face.

If Garrett primarily lines up opposite the left tackle, he would usually be Fant’s problem, while Mitchell would more often be tasked with Clowney. But the defensive ends can rotate.

“He’s a great athlete. He bends well,” Mitchell said of Garrett. “Dude encapsulates what it means to be a great end. Covering our P’s and Q’s this week and focusing on myself this week. Hopefully we go out there and get the job done.”

The Browns' Myles Garrett has terrorized different offenses around the NFL.
The Browns’ Myles Garrett has terrorized different offenses around the NFL.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

It is a difficult request for any offensive line, much less one that has been shifted as much as the Jets’ has been. The group has not played together enough, with injuries opening holes and bouncing Fant from left to right tackle and now back to left.

Against this jelling unit, the Browns will counter with two ends who have a combined 102 career sacks. And the quarterback the Jets’ line will be protecting, Joe Flacco, who was sacked three times in Week 1, does not have much mobility.

“They’ve been in this league for a minute now and causing havoc,” Vera-Tucker said. “It’s a great challenge for us.”

And a great compliment to God’s chisel.

— Additional reporting by Zach Braziller

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