The Cleveland Browns secondary was dealt a serious blow early in the week when it looked like cornerback Denzel Ward wouldn't be able to suit up against Ja'Marr Chase and the Cincinnati Bengals.
All those concerns are a thing of the past now and Browns fans can breathe a sigh of relief: Ward has been completely removed from the injury report and is clear to play in Sunday's season opener.
Denzel Ward Injury Update
Denzel Ward has evidently cleared the concussion protocol, as the Cleveland Browns have removed him from the injury report entirely. This clears Ward to play with no limitations on Sunday. And that should make a big impact for the Browns.
Facing Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase and the rest of this explosive Cincy passing attack will put the Browns defense to the test right away.
A massively improved pass-rush that now gives Myles Garrett the support he deserves in the form of Za'Darius Smith and Dalvin Tomlinson will certainly help, but the secondary need to do their part too.
The Browns DBs need to lock things down for long enough to give Garrett and company time to get home. They won't need much time, but the secondary has to take away the kind of short, easy completions that can neutralize a pass-rush.
This is also redemption time for Ward. He got absolutely cooked the last time he faced the Bengals. That was a 100-yard game for Chase, and Ward himself gave up 5 receptions for 65 yards in that contest according to Pro Football Focus.
Make no mistake, though. Mike Ford would have been a significant downgrade from Ward, and would've been a ton of strain on the rest of the defense.
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