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Myles Garrett leaves Eagles' Vaitai admitting struggles

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Myles Garrett can be a golden god.

During Thursday night's preseason outing versus the Philadelphia Eagles, Garrett looked every bit the dominant, soul-eating, chiseled beast we were promised when the Cleveland Browns selected the pass rusher No. 1 overall in 2017.

The beastly 22-year-old compiled two sacks and three tackles, including a safety, in just 23 snaps of work Thursday night. The stats don't even tell the whole story. On several occasions, Garrett's presence in the backfield completely disrupted the Eagles' play call. On one play, he hoisted the left tackle into Nick Foles' lap, forcing the QB to step up and into a strip sack.

"It's a blast. Making big plays, whether its sacks, interceptions, or forced fumbles, it's a joy watching those guys get after it like that and being a part of it," Garrett said after the game, via the team's transcript. "I had a little bit of fun today. I know those kinds of plays win games and winning games is the ultimate fun."

Garrett did a solid job setting the edge versus the run Thursday night, but it was his demolition of Eagles' Halapoulivaati Vaitai on the pass rush that made Garrett look like a potential Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

"I got my ass kicked. Myles is a great player," Vaitai said, via Philly.com. "I was out of control today. I just got beat today."

While he is a backup to Jason Peters, it's worth remembering that Vaitai performed solidly during the Eagles postseason run last year. This wasn't some undrafted free agent that Garrett was bulldozing play after play after play after play after play after play after play.

The Browns' first-team defense in Thursday's 5-0 shutout victory caused four turnovers and a safety and had Hue Jackson gushing that it could be a dominant unit. Garrett agreed.

"I think we can be from Day One," he said. "We've showed that actually in the last three games, but it just takes a little more clicking. We just need a little more time on the practice field and really more time in the regular season. I know that once we get out there, after that first drive and a couple of plays, we're going to see the tempo and see how we move at a different pace. It's going to be pretty impressive."

Now the Browns need to do it when the games count.

"Got to play the next half and see how it goes," Garrett said. ... "I definitely started off hot, but you still got to finish the game."

For as much attention as the Browns' offense gets, it's the defense that could make the biggest leap this season. Garrett is the best reason for optimism. If he stays healthy, the 6-foot-4, 272-pound specimen could propel Cleveland to new heights and put his name in the ring for DPOY.

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