BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – If you’ve been to a Browns training camp you know Gregg Williams has no time for meaningless platitudes.
He spends most of his day on the field screaming words unable to be printed here at his players either to motivate, chew out or coach them up.
That’s why what he had to say Tuesday about rookies Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers is so eye-opening.
Williams was pretty complimentary of both first-round picks, who have worked their way up the depth chart during camp, on Tuesday when he spoke to reporters.
“I have never had a chance to draft the first overall pick ever, but I have had some pretty high draft picks,” Williams said of Garrett. “He is the one that has jumped out and fit in faster than any of the other ones, and I have had some really, really good ones.”
Garrett started camp with the third-team defense before working his way to the twos. It took 9 practices before he got a single first-team rep and faced left tackle Joe Thomas.
Thursday night he started against the Saints in the preseason opener.
“The reason that he moved up the depth chart was because of him and his teammates, not because of my evaluation,” Williams said. “When the other players, the veteran players came to me and said, ‘Hey, do you know we are better when he is in there?’ Really? Well, now you are going to own him.
“I can tell you this, you go back and watch the film [from Thursday], they were pointing to where he was. The Saints knew where he was.”
Everyone expected Garrett, who has been everything the Browns hoped for and more, to start from Week 1, but Williams wanted to be sure the No. 1 pick earned every snap and was handed nothing.
“One of the things we do is when those guys come in the door, they are dead last on the depth chart,” Williams explained. “How do you handle that? How do you handle the locker room? How do you handle the meeting room? How do you handle the field? How do you handle the walkthroughs? How do you handle being humble? How do you handle being respectful?
“He is a really good young man and a pretty good player, too.”
Peppers took advantage of his first extended opportunity with the first-team defense and stole the show Monday when he lit up receiver Rannell Hall following an 18-yard sideline completion before breaking up 3 passes and coming away with an interception.
“He has played really defensively every position but one that I might end up doing with him later on down the line,” Williams said. “You might see him at middle linebacker, too, at times…He has played free, strong, linebacker both strong and weak, punt returner, kick returner and quarterback.
“Do you know the definition of what kind of position he is playing? He is a football player. He can play football.”
Williams didn’t just stop with the top 2 rookies.
“There is nobody on the defensive side of the ball here right now who doesn’t deserve a chance to make an NFL team,” Williams said.
Finding cornerstone talent has been problematic over the years for the Browns – especially in the first round of the draft – which is why the franchise is in the state that it is but the early returns on Garrett and Peppers are among the best we’ve seen in a long time.
And for Williams to be willing to vocalize it speaks volumes.