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Burning Questions

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15 questions for Denzel Ward, who sees a refocused team ready to bounce back vs. Bengals

The third-year CB has been a leader for Cleveland’s defense

Denzel Ward has seen this before.

After the Browns' lopsided Week 1 loss to the Ravens, the team quickly moved on to Cincinnati and delivered a convincing victory that served as the beginning of a four-game winning streak. Now, the team is looking to do the same after a tough loss in Pittsburgh.

Ward has liked the focus he's seen from his teammates this week. He shared that and more in a conversation with What have you seen this week to believe the team will bounce back Sunday?

Ward: I feel we've got a group of resilient guys. Everyone came into work and are doing their jobs. Just have to watch the film, see what we can do to get better. We're on to the next week, on to Cincinnati and seeing what we can do to pull off the win for next week. When you go back to Week 1, what did you guys do right to make sure the loss didn't hang with you?

Ward: Just refocused. We refocused on the next week, saw what mistakes we made the previous week and saw what we can do to get better and took advantage of that for the upcoming game. Turnovers have been huge for the defense this year with 12 on the season. What's been the key for getting so many?

Ward: Really just putting an emphasis on it. That's what we're focusing on this week, putting a refocus on it to get turnovers and get our offense on the field and putting them in good situations as well and playing complementary football. Does it give the defense energy to see what the offense has done with those turnovers?

Ward: Definitely. It helps our offense and we see it leads to wins. That's the focus on what we've got to do: Take the ball away. The secondary has dealt with injuries dating back to training camp. What has kept the group together and confident?

Ward: All of our guys can play, so it's been next man up. That next guy, he can play just as well as the first guy. Everybody knows their job so when they get their opportunity, they can play. What's impressed you most about Terrance Mitchell this season while starting on the opposite side of the field from you?

Ward: Money Mitch is a baller. He knows his job and comes in there and does it well and makes plays. Looking back at safety, there have been a lot of guys getting work, including Ronnie Harrison Jr. and Sheldrick Redwine. What have you liked about those guys?

Ward: They're ready when their number is called. You've seen Redwine in the Colts game, he had to get thrown in during the middle of the game and came in and got a pick on his first possession. They're doing what they're supposed to do when they're on the field and going out and playing with confidence.

Check out exclusive photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the Cincinatti Bengals What did you do this offseason to make sure you'd be at your best for your third season?

Ward: I just worked on my skill set, my technique. I got stronger, faster and just tried to put my body in the right state to play a full season. Do you notice opposing offenses treating you differently compared to previous years?

Ward: I feel like I'm getting a little bit more respect this season. I feel like I got a lot of targets my rookie year. I'm still getting targets now but definitely not as much. As you get more experience in the league, what kind of mental adjustments have you made?

Ward: I'm just doing things like staying in the playbook and learning more than my position. I know where the safety is lined up and what other guys are doing and that helps put myself in the best position on the field. What have you liked from what the defensive line has been able to do?

Ward: It's complementary football. The rush works with the secondary and the secondary works for the rush. Those guys up there rushing help us out in coverage and get tips and overthrows. We try to cover as long as we can so those guys can go make a play. What did you think of Joe Burrow the first time you played Cincinnati?

Ward: Joe's a good quarterback. He's capable of making every single throw. It's definitely going to be a test this upcoming week, like every week is, but he's a good quarterback. Did anything he did surprise you?

Ward: Nothing specifically surprised me, but I've known he's a good quarterback since I played with him at Ohio State and he's been showing that in the league as well. It seems like the Bengals have a lot of players involved at wide receiver.

Ward: Definitely. They've got a lot of depth at the receiver position. Guys like A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, they make plays, catch the ball and run good routes. How rewarding would it be to deliver the performance you expect and come home with a 5-2 record?

Ward: That's the goal to come out with a win. No matter how we get it, we have to figure out how to leave Cincinnati with a win.

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