CLEVELAND, Ohio — Browns defensive end Myles Garrett explained Monday that he wasn’t calling anyone out in particular after Sunday’s 39-17 loss to the Dolphins with his “wrong direction” remark, but urging a better collective effort from everyone involved with the defense.
When asked after the game if they were able to gather up a head of steam for the Dolphins after being ready to run through a wall before the Bengals game, Garrett said it wasn’t about the energy they started with, but what came afterward, when they surrendered 195 yards rushing and 491 overall.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re ready to run through a wall if it’s in the wrong direction,” Garrett said in his postgame press conference. “We really need to just focus in a little bit more and that’s where we’re going to get back to doing. We have that kind of energy when we’re ready to attack, but everybody’s gotta be focusing and going all in the right direction, all on the same page.”
The quote was interpreted by many on social media as Garrett ripping defensive coordinator Joe Woods, a notion he dispelled on Monday.
“I certainly wasn’t singling out any one person, coach or player,” Garrett told cleveland.com via the Browns PR staff. “The question was about our collective energy from Cincy to Miami, so that’s what I was referring to in my answer. We have the energy, the attack. We just all need to move in the right direction with it.”
Garrett did criticize Woods after the loss in New England last season for failing to make in-game adustments, but he worked through that issue with coach Kevin Stefanski and hasn’t done anything like it since.
On Sunday, he attributed the poor defensive performance to the Browns not imposing their will enough.
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“I mean, we expected them to establish the run, but you know, we should’ve done a better job of stopping it,” he said. “We allowed too many lanes and we just weren’t being as aggressive and as physical as we needed to get them away from it.
“We knew that they were unique in what they did and they were gonna throw a lot of different looks at us and it really kept us on a back foot, kept us hesitant and they capitalized on that.”
He said the Dolphins, who improved to 7-3 with their fourth straight win, weren’t a better team than the Browns thought they were.
“The motions and a lot of the movements that they were doing really in real time, it’s just a little bit different pace than we were expecting and especially with all the threats that they have, it really just kept us a little slower getting to where we needed to be and executing,” he said.
Stefanski also explained Monday that he wasn’t criticizing Woods’ defensive gameplan when he said, “we’ve got to look at the plan that we gave the guys in order to stop that run and ask ourselves if there’s things we can do better.”
“Every coach, myself, we all need to come up with a better plan when you get beat like we got beat,” Stefanski said. “I don’t think any of us coached well enough and I don’t think any of us played well enough when you get that result. That is the truth. All of us need to be better.”
Stefanski agreed with Garrett that the Browns didn’t play aggressively enough.
“Tackling sometimes is technique,” Stefanski said. “Sometimes it’s getting 11 people around the ball. Gap integrity, every defense that’s played – don’t care [if it is] man, zone, three deep or two deep – you have gap integrity, and you have to stay true to that. We have to work hard to make sure that we’re aware of where we need to be, and we have to make sure that we’re giving our guys a plan that they can go out, execute and play fast.
“We’ve done it at times. So much of run defense is when you’re playing fast and you’re playing physical. Certainly, have seen that at times, but we just did not do that yesterday and have to do it more consistently.”
With a huge game against the 6-3 Bills in Buffalo up next, he knows the Browns must regroup and reset in a hurry.
“Games get away from you in the NFL when you don’t perform at your best, especially on the road and especially versus a good football team,” he said. “The game got away towards the end of that first half – they were able to double dip.
“We just didn’t do enough things offensively, defensively and special teams to stay in that game. Ultimately, extremely disappointing. We have to play better, we have to coach better and we have to own that one together.”
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