CLEVELAND, Ohio — Browns cornerback Denzel Ward, taking heat for Joe Flacco’s 66-yard touchdown pass to receiver Corey Davis in Sunday’s improbable loss to the Jets, said Monday “it wasn’t my coverage.”
But Ward said “I’ll take the blame for it.”
The TD was one of two in the final 1:22 that cost the Browns their 31-30 loss after going ahead 30-17 with 1:55 remaining.
Davis ran by Ward down the right side, and safety Grant Delpit appeared to be the last line of defense. But it’s still somewhat unclear who was supposed to have whom.
“I was playing the flat” in the cloud Cover 2 coverage on that play, Ward said on a Zoom conference Monday.
He said in that instance, Davis was supposed to get past him while he manned the flat and that he shouldn’t have vacated his area to try to save the blown coverage. As it was, tight end Tyler Conklin ran a late flat route to occupy Ward.
But Delpit, who seems the obvious culprit if it wasn’t Ward’s coverage, noted that there were two possible coverages on the play. He said several times “communication error” and when asked to explain, he said “I’m not going to play the blame game with my teammates.”
Likewise, coach Kevin Stefanski said he wouldn’t break down coverage responsibilities because it’s not constructive. He stressed communication and getting things fixed quickly with the 1-1 Steelers coming to town Thursday night.
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Ward also said he doesn’t think the Browns need to employ a deep “angel” safety the way Gregg Williams did when he was coordinator here to avoid receivers getting behind them
Ward maintained “it’s an easy fix” and that the Browns just need to communicate much better in the back end.
He also said he didn’t talk after the game because no one approached him at his locker. He said he would’ve explained his role on the play after the game if he had been given the opportunity.
He said he spoke out on Twitter Monday morning because he wanted to set the record straight. When pro football analyst John Kosko tweeted that Ward gave up more than 100 yards for the first time in his career, either NFL or college, Ward responded, “lol I was only targeted one time yesterday. A lot of fake news out there. People don’t know what they don’t know.”
The Browns must correct their mistakes quickly to avoid slipping to 1-2 to the Steelers on Thursday night, and now they must try to correct their mistakes without defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney (right) and Chase Winovich (hamstring), who were injured vs. the Jets and who have both been ruled out of the game.
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