1. Greg Newsome, Cornerback
Denzel Ward has been having a historic season for the Browns but a shoulder injury has him on the shelf. By now, Cleveland fans have to be exhausted when it comes to discussing shoulder injuries but here we are. The hope is that Ward won't be out long and we saw on Sunday that they miss him terribly when he's not out there.
Ward has been a lockdown corner as has second-year player Martin Emerson (who was also banged up at one point in this game). They also have Greg Newsome II, a former first-round pick who helped defeat the Ravens with a huge pick-six in Week 10. Due to his talent, the Browns felt they were in good hands. That proved to be incorrect.
Newsome struggled all day in coverage on Courtland Sutton. He was flagged for a 34-yard pass interference on the opening drive, which kept the Browns from forcing a punt. He then surrendered a 31-yard reception to Sutton on another third down as Denver moved inside the 10. Samaje Perine capped that off with a touchdown run and it was 7-0.
From there, Newsome kept struggling with Sutton who had 61 yards on three receptions. He didn't make a lot of grabs but they were huge — as was the penalty. He even had another big play but it was called back with the refs calling Sutton for interference.
If Ward is going to be out for a while, the Browns will need more from Newsome. He's going to be the veteran of this cornerback room now and if he plays the way he did against the Broncos, that could be an issue for this team. The good news is that we have seen him perform at a higher level, he just needs to do this with more consistency.