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Around the AFC North: Browns' Myles Garrett Likes Impact of New Defensive Coordinator

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett takes part in drills at the NFL football team's practice facility Tuesday, June 6, 2023, in Berea, Ohio.
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett takes part in drills at the NFL football team's practice facility Tuesday, June 6, 2023, in Berea, Ohio.

Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett Likes Approach of New Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz

The Browns did not play up to the defensive standard they expected in 2022, leading to former Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods being replaced by Jim Schwartz. Cleveland's mandatory minicamp gave All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett his first taste of Schwartz's system and Garrett liked what he saw.

"I think he just helps simplify things," Garrett said via the Browns' website. "I don't think that's a knock on Joe. You have to be intent on knowing your personnel and trying to tune into their skillsets. If you put too much on somebody's plate … that can lead to disruption and a disconnection between groups on the field.

"I think we saw that early in the season with some of the big misreads we had on the back end. I think he's really helped break it down for some of the guys on the back end. I think he's been the same up front really allowing us to play free. Studying the playbook when I was gone, it's pretty deep, but it's also pretty simple."

On "The Pat McAfee Show," former Browns General Manager Michael Lombardi called the Browns a "sleeper" in the AFC North, partly because of Schwartz's presence.

"They're going to be better defensively," Lombardi said. "One thing about a Jim Schwartz defense. They're going to make you one-dimensional. They're going to make you throw the ball to beat them."

The Browns finished 14th overall defensively in 2022, but they ranked 25th against the run and had trouble protecting late-game leads. Garrett expects Cleveland's run defense to improve under Schwartz, giving Garrett and newly acquired edge rusher Za'Darius Smith more opportunities to create pressure on quarterbacks.

Smith spent four seasons with the Ravens (2015-18) and was acquired by Cleveland in an offseason trade with the Vikings. Garrett (74.5 career sacks) and Smith (54.5 career sacks) have the potential to be one of the league's top pass-rushing duos.

"Schwartz likes to say, 'Take off the seatbelt.' That's really the mindset," Garrett said. "You get out there and let it loose.

"He's going to put me in position and us in position to make plays. At key points and moments in the game, we're going to try to get someone free. At the end of the day, we're just trying to get one-on-ones across the board. You can't just key in on one guy."

Pittsburgh Steelers: Patrick Peterson Wants Joey Porter Jr. to Strive for Greatness

Eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson wants to prove he can still play at a high level at age 32, after signing with Pittsburgh during free agency. However, Peterson also wants to play a key role as a mentor to rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr., the 32nd-overall pick who Peterson believes can become a star.

"I want to give him all the nuggets to be successfully early," Peterson said, via Amanda Godsey of the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat. "He has all the intangibles to be better than me. I know most greats, most guys won't say that, but that's just the type of guy I am. I want to pass on the game and leave it in good hands."

Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin said he won't rush Porter into a starting role, but will let his performance dictate his playing time.

"He's playing with confidence," Austin said. "But I always look for what's his understanding of his role, does he understand why we're putting him in here in this particular role right now? If he understands that, then you move towards how is he actually playing it, is he doing it well? I don't know when Joey's time is going to be, but when it comes, I think we'll know."

Cincinnati Bengals: Orlando Brown Jr. Having No Problems Fitting in With Bengals

Four-time Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. has brought the same gregarious personality he had with the Ravens and the Chiefs to Cincinnati. Head Coach Zac Taylor said Brown hasn't had any problem fitting into the locker room after signing with the Bengals during free agency.

"He's a guy that feels like he's been here for a lot longer than he has," Taylor said via Geoff Hobson of the Bengals’ website. "There's no shyness to him. That's how you blend into a locker room and get to know people when you're personable like that and he is, so I appreciate that about him. He asked really good questions, football questions. He wants to be the best. It's really exciting when you are able to acquire a player like that. He's got all that tangible stuff and personality stuff. That's all good stuff."

Brown has quickly formed a relationship with former Bengals Hall of Fame left tackle Anthony Munoz, who visited practice during mandatory minicamp.

"It's great to be able to talk to a guy like that who played the position. What a great guy," Brown said. "I'm hoping we can go to lunch in a few weeks.

"I'm looking for his mindset and approach and he said he went into every training camp like he had to make the team. He's the best to ever do it and he went into it like that. It makes you think. And I had a lot more questions I didn't get to."

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