For the second time in his rookie season, Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward wins the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week award.
“Makes me feel good. I am just here to help this team win,” Ward said. My main focus is to help this team win, and I am doing whatever I can to do that.”
Ward also took home the award in week one. He recorded a pair of interceptions against of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Needless to say Ward has proved why the Browns took him over Bradley Chubb at pick number four. Stepping up in division games is very important as a rookie.
“He has done well. I am proud of him. We all should be,” defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said. “It is just the tip of the iceberg. He has a lot of improving to do, but he fits right in. I am very happy on how well he has acclimated to the NFL and to what we do, and to his teammates. That is good. He gets an opportunity to play the ball game the way that it is supposed to be played.”
Interceptions, pass deflections and open field tackles has been Ward’s calling card in the Browns secondary. Now add the ability to block kicks on special teams and he’s an all around threat on the football field.
“I take a lot of pride in that,” special teams coordinator Amos Jones said. We have always had great edgers. So fortunate to have guys like Denzel. It is ironic – last week in practice, he had the same play. He did not block the kick, but he had the same side and the same technique. He perfected it a little bit between that practice and the game. Just a big, big time play.”
In addition to the Pepsi Rookie of the Week award, Ward also took home the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award thanks to the blocked kick.
“That was a big play at a big moment,” Jones said. “Congratulations for him and to the team for making that stop right there before the half because really, that is a double-score situation. We have the ball in the second half so you are looking to rob points and get points. Really proud for him. Blocked it with the inside hand.”
Browns players have taken home the award in four out of the first five weeks of the season. Mayfield won in week three. Nick Chubb won in week four.
If Ward is not the leading candidate for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, you would have a hard time convincing the dawg pound of a more worthy recipient.