New DL Coach Jacques Cesaire Expects More From Myles Garrett In 2024

The Browns star defensive end won his first Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2023
Dec 17, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) celebrates after making a tackle during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) celebrates after making a tackle during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Complacency isn't allowed in the NFL. Not when there are other dozens of other teams and players chasing you.

Avoiding complacency has been at the core of everything Browns defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has been preaching to his unit this offseason. It's a message that new defensive line coach Jacques Cesaire has received and is pushing upon his d-line group.

Cesaire will turn to star defensive end Myles Garrett – fresh off of winning his first ever Defensive Player of the Year Award – to lead the charge.

"[I expect] a lot more," said Cesaire of Garret. "And Myles knows that. Myles is the type of person, he wants to be great. He's not just resting on his laurels and what he did last year, he understands [and] that he's working. We've been in contact with each other, and I know that he's been working."

In a somewhat controversial decision for some, Garrett wound up winning DPOY despite finishing tied for seventh in sacks with 14. He also saw his numbers drop precipitously down the stretch of the season, compiling just one sack and seven of his 30 QB hits over the final six regular season games.

Then came a disappointing playoff performance against the Texans that saw Garrett rendered useless in his attempts to get to rookie QB C.J. Stroud. When the game had ended he had just three combined tackles and hadn't even touched the eventual Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The memory of that outing is something Garrett is using as motivation going into 2024.

"He's working hard," said Cesaire. "I know he wants to come back, and obviously, when you lose in the playoffs, you don't feel great about it. He has things that he needs to work on. Everybody's working on some things, so you're going to see a drastic improvement from everybody this year."

Ironically, Cesaire was on the other end of Cleveland's wild card beatdown in Houston. A former Chargers defensive lineman, Cesaire spent the last two seasons coaching the Texans' young defensive front. When the opportunity arose to come coach alongside Schwartz though, Cesaire couldn't say no.

"Just the opportunity to work with Jim Schwartz," he said. "I mean, you're talking about a guy that has just a wealth of knowledge. He's been incredible at the attack front. He's won championships. He's produced $100 million defensive tackles, $100 million defensive ends. So just the opportunity just to work with a guy that understands the front, understands attacking, understands pressuring, and just knows how to call it on game day, you have to get excited about that."

It didn't hurt that the Browns have assembled one of the most dominant defensive lines in football either.

"Then you add in Myles Garrett – defensive player of the year," added Cesiare, "Za'Darius Smith, Shelby (Harris), Dalvin (Tomlinson), Mo (Maurice Hurst). Now we get to work with [rookie] Mike Hall. It was kind of like a dream come true, almost."

Regardless of how talented the group might be, Cesaire puts a lot of pressure on himself to pull the most out of them collectively. Through a contagious passion that he brings to the practice field every day, he's deliberate in terms of what he expects and he's already set the bar very high for a group that was historically great in 2023.

"Everybody in this defensive line can rush. It's my job is to find the guys that can rush together. Four guys equal one rushing together, attacking the pocket, assaulting the pocket ... Plain and simple, if we're not rushing, we're stealing. We're stealing from our kids, our family, the fans, everybody, this organization. So I want guys that want to get after the quarterback."


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Spencer German

SPENCER GERMAN

Spencer German is a contributor to the Northeast Ohio cluster of sites, including Cavs Insider, Cleveland Baseball Insider and most notably Browns Digest. He also works as a fill-in host on Cleveland Sports Radio, 92.3 The Fan, one of the Browns radio affiliate stations in Cleveland. Despite being a Cleveland transplant, Spencer has enjoyed making Northeast Ohio home ever since he attended college locally at John Carroll University, where he graduated in 2013.