Browns rookie Denzel Ward named AFC special teams player of the week

Impact of the 4th pick in the Draft is being felt

Daryl Ruiter
October 10, 2018 - 10:52 am
Denzel Ward Cleveland Browns

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Denzel Ward has already won ‘Defensive Rookie of the Week’ and he’s nominated again this week.

Now he can add ‘Special Teams Player of the Week’ to the rookie resume.

“It means a lot,” Ward said Wednesday. “Special teams is just as important as playing offense and defense.”

Ward received the honor Wednesday morning thanks to his blocked field goal – a 48-yard try by Justin Tucker – that preserved a 6-3 halftime lead for the Browns over the Ravens. Cleveland won in overtime 12-9.

“It takes really all 11 guys,” Ward said about blocking a kick. “Really, it is those guys on the inside that came hard and were able to free me up on the outside and get the block.”

Ward blew by the right side in the blink of an eye to reject Tucker’s boot that would’ve tied the game.

 “It is really just keying the ball, and once the ball is snapped, just trying to get off the edge as fast as you can,” Ward said.

Ward also added five tackles, three pass break-ups and an interception in the victory. He is tied for the league lead with three interceptions this season and are the most by a Brown through the first five weeks since Anthony Henry in 2001.

Ward has quickly quieted the critics who thought the Browns should’ve drafted NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb, who was taken a spot behind him by Denver, this past April. Chubb has 1.5 sacks, a tackle for loss and four QB hits in five starts for the Broncos.

“I wasn’t really worried about that. Wherever I went, I would’ve been happy, and it’d have been a blessing to be wherever,” Ward said. “I’m happy that I’m here in Cleveland, my hometown, so it didn’t really matter to me.”

In addition to the three interceptions, the fourth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft has totaled a combined 24 tackles – 16 solo, six pass break-ups, one tackle for loss, forced fumble, fumble recovery and the blocked field goal while starting all five games this season.

“Outstanding. A playmaker. Made every play that came to him,” safety Damarious Randall said.

“I was honestly expecting him to play like this. Just watching his film out of Ohio State, he went No. 4. He has all the intangibles and skills to be an elite corner. I am just glad that he is able to show it early in his career.”

Defensive lineman Jamie Meder was the last Brown to win the special teams award in Week 16 in 2016.