If you’ve ever watched the WWE, or professional fighting to an extent, you know that the cream-of-the-crop spectacles are now just thrown out there at a whim’s notice. First, you start by having the fans speculate about it. Then, as an organization yourself, you start teasing the match-up before actually pulling it off at a later date, when everyone is ready for it.
For example, think about the John Cena vs. Shinsuke Nakamura match that was stunningly booked for Smackdown Live! this coming Tuesday in Cleveland, OH. That has been viewed as a Wrestlemania-caliber match, and all of a sudden we’re getting it on a regular show? That’s the tease — the typical script would say that the match will be derailed by interference, further building anticipation for an eventual showdown later on.
With the Cleveland Browns, instead of Cena vs. Nakamura, we have future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas vs. generational No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett. When Garrett was interviewed the morning of the Day 1 training camp practices, he acknowledged that he’s glad he’s past his foot injury, because one can’t afford to give Thomas an advantage. At full strength, he’s not just excited about the match-up — he wants to beat him.
“It would be great to go against him, but that's one thing,” said Garrett. “I'm trying to beat him.” Although he hasn’t offered the verbal challenge to Thomas yet, he knows the showdown is coming. “Not yet, but I'm sure when we actually get out there and face each other, we'll have something going,” said Garrett.
Thomas, out of respect for all that he’s done in his career, was allowed to sit out of all of the team’s offseason programs up to this point, preventing an early look at Thomas vs. Garrett. But then, the tease was, “Could Thomas and Garrett square off on Day 1 of training camp?” The answer was no, as Garrett is currently working as the right defensive end with the second-team defense, while Thomas was held out of team drills. The anticipation keeps building. And if we’re thinking like the WWE again, remember when Braun Strowman was dominating the jobbers and then started demanding better competition? You could say that is what Garrett did when he went up against rookie right tackle Roderick Johnson on Day 1 of practice, registering touch sacks on back-to-back plays. Now, he wants Thomas, and he’ll get him at some point, says head coach Hue Jackson.
“Joe is up for that challenge, trust me. He is looking forward to it. It is going to happen. When is it going to happen? I don’t know. I’m not scripting it to happen, but I know it is going to happen at some point in time. It is going to be a good challenge for them both, and we are looking forward to that.”
Joe Thomas signing autographs in a Duke Johnson shirt #3Browns pic.twitter.com/IVNZx0KICt— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) July 27, 2017
Everyone meet my new BFF, @MylesLGarrett pic.twitter.com/Ig8DIOkWBo— Cory O'Connor (@CoryO24) July 27, 2017