Browns Receive Encouraging Update On CB Denzel Ward

Denzel Ward, Browns
NFL Analysis Network

The Cleveland Browns are set to face off against their AFC North rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals, this weekend in their season opener. The Browns’ new-look defense will be tested right from the start as the Bengals have one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL.

With quarterback Joe Burrow securing his long-term contract extension, there is no doubt that he will be out there with his star-studded supporting cast. Wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are the best trio in the NFL and can put up numbers in bunches.

Slowing them down certainly won’t be easy, but the Browns received a bit of good news in their attempt to do so. According to Jake Trotter of ESPN, star cornerback Denzel Ward has been released from concussion protocol and will be on the field Sunday afternoon.

Ward has been in concussion protocol since the Browns’ final preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs on August 26th. As a result, he has missed a lot of practice time since, but started ramping up his participation this week,

Ward was a limited participant to start the week before being labeled as a full participant on Friday. “Denzel is a big part of what we do,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said, commenting on the importance of having Ward in the lineup.

Slowing down the Bengals’ passing game is a tall task when a defense is fully healthy. Had the Browns been without Ward heading into this matchup, things could have certainly gotten ugly as he is a key cog in their game plan.

While Ward’s return to practice is certainly good news, the team may not be 100 percent healthy in their secondary. Safety Juan Thornhill, who was signed away from the Chiefs in free agency, is listed as questionable with a calf injury. If he cannot suit up, the Browns will likely turn to veteran Rodney McLeod to take his place.