Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson took issue with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams telling reporters that rookie cornerback Denzel Ward was injured because of the “stupid” way he tackles.
Jackson said that Williams needs to keep a tight lip as it relates to airing the Browns’ internal business.
“Gregg does not get to do just what he wants to do. We will work through all of that. … We do not need to do all of that stuff in the media,” Jackson said.
Williams pointed to Ward’s tackling form as the reason the latter sustained back spasms while attempting to tackle tight end Zach Ertz during the first quarter of the Browns’ 5-0 preseason victory versus the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
The second of Cleveland’s two first-round picks (No. 4 overall) in the 2018 NFL Draft, Ward remained on the ground for a lengthy time before leaving the game. An MRI revealed no structural damage, per Cleveland.com.
“I was glad to hear (it wasn’t serious), and maybe he’ll finally listen to me and stop doing those stupid things the way he’s trying to tackle and tackle the way I tell him to tackle and he won’t get hurt,” Williams said of the play.
Williams, however, is also on record as saying that Ward is “one of the best press guys” that he had seen coming out of the draft in recent years.
Ward was a somewhat surprising pick for Cleveland, which took him one spot ahead of Bradley Chubb, the pass-rushing standout from North Carolina State who was widely considered the top defensive player in the draft.
A consensus All-American at Ohio State in 2017, Ward appeared in 11 games and recorded two interceptions, 15 passes defensed and 37 tackles.
Shortly after the draft, Browns general manager John Dorsey said Ward possesses all the requisite tools to be a shutdown cornerback, citing his vertical speed, quickness and “great” ball skills.