Greedy Williams has been the "next man up" at cornerback all season, and he's more than ready to fill that role Sunday if it's what the Browns need.
Williams played the final 11 defensive snaps in Cleveland's win last week when Denzel Ward went down with a hamstring injury. Ward, or anyone else on the active roster, hasn't been ruled out yet for the Browns' Week 8 matchup with the Steelers, but the team can rest assured it has a solid, seasoned option waiting in the wings if its Pro Bowl cornerback isn't available.
"Just doing as told. If they need me to go in, I am in," Williams said. "Just doing as told. Praying Ward that it is not anything major. Hopefully, he can get back out there."
Ward worked off to the side Monday as the Browns began their first practice of the week. They'll have three more starting Wednesday before a decision will need to be made on who will be available to try to slow down a talented and deep Pittsburgh group of wide receivers.
Williams, who started three games earlier this season while Greg Newsome II worked his way back from a calf injury, said he'll approach the week the same as he always does.
"Watch film, come to meetings and be a full participant in everything," Williams said. "I kind of do everything as far as walkthrough and stuff, I want to be the receiver to make sure I am getting the reps in and stuff like that. It is just being dialed in, knowing this is a game with injuries and you could be up just like that."
Williams, a former second-round pick who missed all of 2020 with a shoulder injury, more than held his own the first time the Browns called on him for an every-snap role. In his first start since his rookie season, Williams made a pivotal interception in the fourth quarter of Cleveland's win over the Vikings. He battled through a couple of injuries the following week against the Chargers and started Week 6 despite Newsome being active for the game.
It's a byproduct of all of the work Williams has put in behind the scenes to prepare himself for these kinds of opportunities.
"Going back to training camp, he came in in great shape," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. "He does extra work a lot of times on the sideline with (assistant defensive backs) Coach (Brandon) Lynch and (pass game coordinator/defensive backs) Coach (Jeff) Howard so I see a guy who keeps getting better. Off of the injury, I think once training camp hit, he had kind of moved past that and was now just working on refining his technique."
QB Baker Mayfield didn't practice Monday, and Stefanski was unsure if Mayfield would be available when the team regroups Wednesday.
"With all of these guys, we will see," Stefanski said. "I want to see how they respond from today. We will put that injury report out Wednesday, and we will know more as we get into the week."
Stefanski did not rule out Mayfield, who saw his 51-start streak come to an end last week, from being available Sunday against the Steelers.
"It is hard to say how it is going to play out. I am not in the prediction business," Stefanski said. "I think we just have to work through all of it, and the quarterback position really is no different than any of these other positions where guys' availability you might not know Wednesday and you might not know Friday."
Chubb and Conklin Back At Practice
RB Nick Chubb (calf) and T Jack Conklin (knee) were back on the field for Monday's practice. Both offensive starters have missed the past two games because of their respective injuries.
In regards to Chubb, Stefanski said the Pro Bowl RB has put in the work behind the scenes to rehab from the injury and is "feeling good."
"I think he is excited to get back out there," Stefanski said. "We will see how it goes over the next couple days and see if he can."
Despite missing the past two games, Chubb sits at fourth in the NFL with 523 rushing yards. His 5.8 yards per carry average is the best among any player with his kind of workload.
Check out the best photos from the Browns win over the Broncos yesterday by the Browns photo team