Skip to main content

CB Denzel Ward glad to be back on the field following shoulder injury and ready for a playoff push

Ward looks for Pro Bowl nod after missing three games with a shoulder injury


CB Denzel Ward is in playoffs mode as the Browns are currently fifth seed in the AFC standings with three games left. Ward is eager to get back to the playoffs after only playing in one postseason game, which ended in a loss to the Chiefs in 2020.

This season, Ward has shown he is a complete cornerback and has been one of the best at the position when he is playing. NFL's Next Gen Stats said Ward is tied with CB Greg Newsome II for second in coverage success this season with 66.7 percent. The only person above him is his teammate, CB Martin Emerson Jr., who ranks first in the league with a 67.7 percent coverage success rate. As a group, the corners take pride in their ability to be effective in coverage. 

"I mean, since the beginning of the season, you've heard us talk about how we want to be the best in the world," Ward said. "And we've consistently shown that we're the best corners out there and the best defense out there. And we're trying to continue to show that, continue to execute plays out there, lock our guys down, make plays for this team, and find a way to win. So, we take a lot of pride in it."

Through the first 11 weeks, Ward was top three in passes allowed in single coverage at 26.8, per Pro Football Focus. Then Ward missed the next three games with a shoulder injury. Ward returned to action against the Bears in Week 15 but was limited to 43 snaps for 59 percent. He didn't start and was subbed in for the first on the first Bears' third down of the game.

Check out photos of the team working to prepare for the Houston Texas

Having Ward back in the lineup makes every other defensive back better. The Browns gave up an average of 223.3 passing yards in the three games without Ward. In Ward's three most recent games played, they have given up an average of 165 yards.

"With Denzel, it's like, what do you not see," Newsome said. "He has (physicality), shows effort, passion, swag and a lockdown corner. There's not a corner that has been playing better than him this season. He makes all of us better."

Newsome looked up to Ward before he came into the league. He was excited to come to the Browns because Ward was his favorite player. He mentioned how Ward is a goofy and funny guy, but people wouldn't know unless he considers you family.

Yet, as he takes the field, Ward has a different demeanor. He will look to shut down any of the Texans' pass catchers like WR Nico Collins or WR Noah Brown, as he has done throughout the season.

In one of his best games this season, Ward shut down the Cardinals WR Marquise Brown, who only made five catches for 24 yards. During the game, Ward also secured his second interception of the season while guarding Brown. 

The interception occurred in the second quarter when the Cardinals QB Clayton Tune attempted to connect with Brown on a slant route. Ward was in zone coverage and intercepted the pass, keeping his eyes fixed on Brown throughout the play.

Ward will try to make his third Pro Bowl this season in his sixth year in the league. This season, he has 25 tackles, 10 pass deflections and two interceptions. He only has until Sunday to remind people why he's a Pro Bowler, as voting ends on Christmas Day.

"Ward is the best in the world," S D'Anthony Bell said. "Put Denzel in the Pro Bowl, we have the best defensive back core in the league. It starts with him."