After recording 5.5 sacks in each of his first two seasons, Winovich saw his playing time reduced to just 10.5 percent of New England’s defensive snaps in 2021. He ended the year with no sacks and just one quarterback hit.
So as he begins his time with Cleveland as a potential rotational edge rusher, Winovich is optimistic about his opportunity in the AFC North.
“In life, we’re very quick to assign things as good or bad, success or failure, this or that,” Winovich said in an interview with Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “But I think ultimately that removes any possibility, and the possibility is that it could be the best thing to ever happen to me.”
Winovich added that he’s gained 10 to 15 pounds this offseason to help his transition into Cleveland’s defensive scheme.
“It’s the heaviest I’ve weighed in probably three years, the strongest I’ve probably ever been,” Winovich said, “so I have a lot to be optimistic about, and I’m really looking forward to it.
“I’m just very thankful that the Cleveland Browns believe in me, and I certainly have been putting in the work and effort to make sure that I’m prepared come season. I’m just really fired up to be here.”
While the Browns agreed to re-sign starting defensive end Jadeveon Clowney over the weekend, Winovich is still likely to get some snaps playing opposite back-to-back All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett.
“Yeah, I’ve definitely thought a lot about it,” Winovich said. “These are things that I’m kind of trained as a Patriot to not speak about but, yeah, I’ve thought a lot about what we could do together on the football field.”
The Browns tied for ninth in the league with 43 sacks in 2021. If Winovich has his way, Cleveland could perhaps make it into the top five in the coming season.