The Cleveland Browns may have a new defensive coordinator, but Denzel Ward is once again being told his tackling technique needs to improve.
At various points in the season, then Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams told the media how Ward needed to listen to him and fix his tackling or he would deal with more injuries during his career.
Williams is no longer the Browns defensive coordinator, but Ward is still hearing about his tackling technique needing to improve from new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.
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Ward suffered a back injury in the Browns preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles last August after attempting to tackle Eagles tight end Zach Ertz. Williams said after the injury that maybe Ward would start listening to him and “stop doing those stupid things the way he’s trying to tackle.”
Ward also suffered two concussions at the end of last season, with the first concussion occurring while again trying to make a tackle. Williams did not criticize Ward as much as he did following the back injury, but did mention that Ward needed to start learning from his injuries.
One of the concerns for Ward coming out of college was if his smaller frame could sustain in the NFL. At 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, it was unknown if Ward would have to change his style of play to stay healthy against the bigger bodied NFL players.
While playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes, Ward was not afraid to make a tackle, and even made a highlight reel tackle against Maryland during his final season. But it is obvious NFL coaches are not fond of the way Ward tries to tackle.
Wilks is known for being a good defensive backs coach, so any flaws in Ward’s game will most likely be pointed out by Wilks. It is a case of if Ward will make the changes that Wilks suggests. And it seems that item No. 1 on the list his fixing how he tackles.
The Browns struggled as a team tackling last season, which caused too many chunk plays to occur. Wilks will be preaching tackling all summer and it will not just be directed at Ward, but the entire defense.
Ward has already shown how impactful of a cornerback he can be, so the Browns need to make sure he can stay on the field. And according to both Wilks and Williams, Ward has to change the way he tackles in order to help sustain his health for an entire season.