Denzel Ward is certainly not receiving any preferential treatment from Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Ward is certainly a focal point of Williams’ frustration since Thursday’s 5-0 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Is the number four overall pick already in the dog house of his defensive coordinator? Well that depends. Ward left Thursday’s game with back spasms after making a tackle. Williams shared his criticism about Ward’s technique on the tackle which caused the back spasms. Williams is pleased that Ward’s injury isn’t considered serious.
Hoping Denzel Ward is okay after this pic.twitter.com/BXfix6JYfD
— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) August 24, 2018
“It is good. I do not worry about those things, but I was glad to hear that,” Williams said. “Maybe he will finally listen to me and stop doing those stupid things the ways he is trying to tackle and maybe tackle the way I tell him to tackle and he will not get hurt.”
Old habits are hard to break. Williams needs his rookie cornerback to make some adjustments in order to be healthy and successful in his inaugural season in the NFL.
— Jeff Schudel (@jsproinsider) August 26, 2018
“Those are things when he has to go through the process with us, and I think this was a good enough shock that maybe he thinks that I might know what I am talking about,” Williams said. “Rookies have to understand that this is not a scholarship league. You have to stay healthy and be on the field. If you are not on the field, then you are not helping us, and that is what you have to do. You have to be on the field and play.”
Ward has battled through some nagging injuries throughout training camp and the preseason. He’s shown flashes of excellence when on the field. It will take a lot to exit the dog house of his defensive coordinator, but the talent is there to do so.
“He has come a long way,” Williams said. “He has done a very good job with what we have asked him to do. It has been a big learning curve for him on understanding some of the zone awareness type things that he has to have because he has not had to opportunity to do very many things like that. Walking down and playing man to man, that is why he is here. He can do those things, he just needs to stay healthy. He needs to tackle the way that I tell him to tackle.”
The nagging injuries have been a reason why Ward has been the subject of criticism from Williams. It will take more time at practice and a game or two to see how he responds to the criticism.
“He is fighting through it,” Williams said. “It is the next step, too. At this level, you have to stay healthy every day. As a pro, you have to understand that there are so many things that you have to do in a 24-hour day, and that it is you have to stay healthy. I tell him all of the time, there are two words that being with the letter ‘A’ that you have to own to be a professional football player – one is accountable, and the next one is available. When you are not available, you are working on your training room internships.”
Hopefully Ward gets the message.
Scott Piker is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Browns. So follow him on twitter @ScottPikerSport