CB Denzel Ward (1.20.21)

CB Denzel Ward:

On how he was feeling during last week’s game after returning from the reserve/COVID-19 list:

“I felt good. Coming off of COVID, I was kind of feeling it a little bit in my respiratory and everything. I was coming to the sideline and getting oxygen every time I was coming off. Just trying to keep my wind throughout the entire game. Other than that, I felt pretty good.”

On if the effects from COVID-19 were expected or unexpected:

“I figured I was going to have some of the effects, just hearing how people who came off of COVID and how they were feeling going into games and how their bodies and stuff were feeling and if they had their wind or not. I kind of expected it. The staff and everybody did a good job of having the oxygen for me and kind of getting me ready for that.”

On how he grew as a player this season:

“I feel like I have grown quite well as a player this year in various things technique wise, my playing ability on the field or whatever and just being there for my guys. I feel like I have grown quite well.”

On takeaways from his first playoff game and how postseason experience will help the team moving forward:

“Just having that experience of playing in a playoff game and playing a pretty good team at that in the Chiefs and just knowing what to expect come next time, I think it was good for all of us to be able to experience that. I think we will be ready next year. I felt that we were ready this year and we may not have went further as we would have liked to, but I think we definitely have the team the staff and everything that could get back to where we just were.”

On his biggest takeaways from the season that can help him advance as a player and as a team:

“Definitely how I just said the experience of being that was my first playoff game and a lot of guys first playoff game this season. Guys have a lot to be proud about this season. Just taking that experience, carrying it on and taking the loss that we just got and laying that field for this upcoming season.”

On what defensive coordinator Joe Woods has meant to him as a player:

“I have learned a lot from Coach Woods and the rest of the coaching staff – my position coaches (assistant defensive backs) Coach (Brandon) Lynch, (defensive backs) Coach (Jeff) Howard and everybody. They all taught me a lot, just changing my technique, critiquing my technique and helping me out in that aspect. I feel that helped improve my game this season from past seasons. Just understanding the game, I felt there was not a game this year that myself and if I am speaking for the rest of the guys on defense that we did not go into and prepared. Those guys are great teachers and great coaches, and looking forward to being able to continue to work with them.”

On how exciting it is that S Grant Delpit and CB Greedy Williams are expected to return to the Browns secondary in 2021:

“It is very exciting, just being able to get to where we got to as a team and honestly we were not even full strength as a team yet. It is exciting to get guys like that back who can make plays and help benefit our team.”

On how tough was it for Delpit and Williams to not play this season:

“I am sure it was very tough for those guys. We wanted them to be out there on the field and seeing a lot of success that a lot guys were getting out there. They are eager to get back. I know they are working hard and looking forward to this next season.”

On what DT Larry Ogunjobi has meant to the Browns defense:

“He meant a lot. Larry was right there in the middle of our defense blowing things up. Larry, he is a great player, he is a great teammate and I enjoy playing with Larry. He was a playmaker for our team and a great leader.”

On the next step for the Browns defense:
“We are going to do a lot of self-reflection going into this offseason, seeing things that we were good at and seeing things that we were not good at, critiquing ourselves and working on what specifically we have to get better at for ourselves so we are going to better for this team. Everybody is going to go out and work out and get ready for this upcoming season, and once we get back with the team, the coaches and everybody. I am sure they are going to set in place a good plan for us and we are going to go execute it.”

On how important it will be for the Browns defense to be better equipped moving forward to face young, talented AFC QBs like Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and Bills QB Josh Allen: 

“I feel that we are equipped to match up with whoever in our conference or whatever conference. We just have to go out and execute, but we definitely have the guys in place to get the job done.”

On how interested he is to see how the team will deal with future contracts for players from his draft class, including QB Baker Mayfield and RB Nick Chubb: 

“My main focus is just winning. Stuff is going to take care of itself with all of that. My main goal is winning. I am going to be just focused on the offseason, working out, getting better and seeing what I can do to help the team once I get back and just take it from there. My main focus is I just want to win.”

On if Woods will want to do more with the defense next year with the unit being more intact from a health standpoint: 

“Yeah, I am sure. The guys who have already been under his system and have been able to play for Coach Woods, they are going to be comfortable in it and know what to expect already. I am sure he is going to come up with some things and new things for us to do, as well, but still doing what we already have done. I am sure it will be good.”

On his favorite moments from this season: 

“It was a season with a lot to be proud of as an organization, as a team and everything. Just what all of these guys accomplished this year and able to create a winning season for the Cleveland Browns. Just enjoying the whole ride for me was what I appreciated the most, just my teammates, my coaches and just being able to be with those guys. Just being around them. It was definitely a different season with COVID and having to do everything virtually, but just being around the guys was great.”

On if he had a sense for how hurt DE Myles Garrett was during the Chiefs game: 

“I was not really aware of him being as hurt. I am not sure, but if he was, that just speaks to the type of player that Myles is to still go out there and compete for the team and give it his all, regardless of how he is feeling.”

On Head Coach Kevin Stefanski’s message to the team heading into the offseason: 

“Just to go out, take a break first, relax and just reflect on the season we had. Like I said, there was a lot to be proud of. Once it comes back for us to get back to work, come back ready.”

On if he will use any specific plays from the Chiefs game as fuel for the offseason: 

“Definitely specific plays, but just taking the losses is going to fuel myself for this next upcoming season because I feel we were definitely capable of beating this team and beating whoever we face. We are capable of that. Just taking that into the offseason, working hard and coming back ready to play come next season.”

On if Chiefs QB Chad Henne’s scramble is one of the specific plays he would pick as fuel this offseason: 

“No, I do not think that would be the play I would pick personally. It is a football game. There are going to be multiple plays that you are going to wish you had back. It is football. It happened. We have to just take it from there, get better and come back ready to play.”

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