Cleveland Browns welcome Myles Garrett back to practice

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns received some good news on Thursday as defensive end Myles Garrett returned to practice for the first time in a month.

It has taken longer than anyone would have liked it to, but the wait may finally be over.

Cleveland Browns rookie defensive end Myles Garrett returned to practice on Thursday and, if everything goes well, may make his debut on Sunday in front of the home fans as the Browns take on the Cincinnati Bengals.

That is good news for the Browns and bad news for Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton, who has already been sacked 11 times after just three weeks of the regular season.

Garrett has missed a month with a high ankle sprain he suffered during practice for the season opening game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The recovery timetable for the injury is four to six weeks, so Garrett may be pushing his return a wee bit, but if he is ready to go the Browns (and their fans) will be getting a much-needed boost, head coach Hue Jackson told on Thursday:

"“He is a really good player. I think we know that. He would give us a lift obviously rushing the passer and doing those things. That would be a jolt to our football team. I want to make sure that we cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s and talk to the medical staff about what the expectation would be of him and what we are going to do because he is a huge piece of our organization and our future. We want to be cautious but smart as we go through it. I think we are getting closer, like I said before, than we are further away. We will see where that is over the next couple of days.”"

Even if he were only to be available on passing downs this Sunday, Garrett’s presence would have a positive impact on the defense, which is ranked 19th in passing yards allowed (233 per game) and 21st in sacks (six).

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Sacks may not be the best indicator of how good a defense is, but the fact that the Browns cannot put consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks helps explain, in part, why they have allowed opposing quarterbacks to post a 102.2 quarterback rate this season, a mark that puts the defense at No. 24 in the league.

The Browns have been counting on Garrett to be the centerpiece of the rebuilt defense ever since drafting him with the No. 1 overall selection of the 2017 NFL Draft. He injured his foot near the end of veteran minicamp, but recovered and participated fully during training camp and the preseason.

Everything looked to be ready to go until an offensive lineman rolled onto Garrett’s ankle during practice for the Pittsburgh game and he has been sidelined ever since.

As long as Jackson and the rest of the coaching staff are not letting the team’s 0-3 record drive them to rush Garrett back onto the field, this is a good day for the Browns in what has quickly become a rough start to the season.

Next: Browns: Week 3 offensive line report

If all goes according to plan, the Browns good news could turn into bad news for Dalton and the Bengals come Sunday afternoon.