Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase made some waves with comments on the Cleveland Browns secondary and Pro Bowler Denzel Ward is embracing the challenge.
Chase is coming off a monster campaign where he notched 81 catches, 1,455 yards, and 13 touchdowns. He joined The Pivot podcast and was asked about some of the toughet secondaries he faced during his record-setting season with the Bengals. He was quick to name Ward but also had some shade for the “s–t” talking Browns.
“It’s game-time when we see them. It’s just on sight, that’s it,” Chase said. “Not just because Cleveland talk the most s–t. Denzel Ward did his thing. Same for Greg Newsome. I don’t think he elite (Newsome), but they just talk crazy.”
Ward responded to the comments by posting his 99-yard pick-six against the Bengals, in which he steps in front of Chase to snag the ball. He addressed the budding beef while speaking to reporters on Tuesday.
“We just gotta come ready to play. Great group of receivers over there in Cincinnati and in this league in general,” Ward said. “Just that competition, we love that, we embrace that and looking forward to the game.”
Ward can point to the stats last season. The Browns secondary held Chase in check, albeit one of the matchups came in Week 17, with the Bengals starting a backup QB. Chase had just eight catches for 103 yards in the two matchups, with the Browns winning both.
“Bringing that rivalry, bringing that competition level and just excitement to the game. I feel everybody’s going to be watching and that’s what we want,” Ward said.
Ward Happy to be Back at Practice
Ward has been nursing a foot injury through training camp and early practices but was activated from the PUP list this week. He’s still not a full participant but is happy to be back with his teammates.
“I think I am just taking it a day at a time and seeing so I may. Just focusing on today and see how I feel today,” Ward said on August 16. “I am going to be in individual again and then see if I can get some reps out there.”
Ward signed a monster extension this offseason and is expected to be a pillar of the Browns’ defense for the foreseeable future. The only knock on him is his injury history, never playing a full season during his career.
“You always need that preparation. I wish I could be out there more to get those reps on the field, but I am also taking my mental reps watching those guys practice and still going through the calls and everything,” Ward said. “I did not get the on-field reps that I would like, but I think I will still be good once I get back and going.”
Myles Garrett Still Absent From Practice for Personal Issue
The Browns have been without one of their defensive leaders this week in Myles Garrett, who has been away due to a personal issue. He missed a third straight practice on Wednesday but the Browns do not sound concerned.
“I will deal with it,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said on the potential impact of Garrett missing practice. “As you can imagine, deal with anything with our players day to day, but he will be back when he is back.”
Garrett is coming off a huge year where he notched 16 sacks — a franchise single-season record. He’s primed for another big year and the Browns will be hoping he’s back on the field sooner than later.