Browns Veteran Calls Out Teammates After Defensive Meltdown

Denzel Ward

Getty Images Cornerback Denzel Ward of the Cleveland Browns.

For the second week in a row, a glaring defensive miscommunication by the Cleveland Browns allowed an opponent back into the game.

In Week 1 it was a 75-yard bomb by the Panthers from Baker Mayfield to Robbie Anderson. The Browns were able to survive that thanks to a late field goal but they weren’t so fortunate against the Jets on Sunday. Led by Joe Flacco, New York scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes, stunning the Browns 31-30.

The major catalyst in the comeback was a 66-yard connection between Flacco and Corey Davis, taking advantage of a blown coverage. It was the Browns $100 million cornerback Denzel Ward who was responsible for the mishap, per The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd.

“Stefanski wouldn’t assess blame, but one source with knowledge of the defensive play call said Denzel Ward blew the coverage,” Lloyd wrote. “He was in the wrong coverage. Given Ward’s recent $100 million contract extension, such mental errors simply aren’t acceptable.”

Safety John Johnson: Not Every Playing Same Call

Browns safety John Johnson III appeared to hint at that with some postgame comments, saying the defensive backs were not on the same page.

“Unexplainable,” Johnson said. “We’ve just got to talk. Communication is sending and receiving. So there are guys sending, but some guys aren’t receiving, and that’s the issue.”

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski attributed the mistake to the team’s youth, although he also pointed to the fact that there was a miscommunication.

“Obviously, guys not on the same page. It was very, very clear what we were doing. We talked about it on the sideline before everybody went out and talked to the entire defense about what they were about to do, which was try and throw it over our head,” Stefanski said. “We can’t let that happen. We have a young football team, and unfortunately, that youth at times has shown up here, and we have to grow up real fast.”

While Ward recently received an extension, he is still young at 25. His counterparts are even younger, with Martin Emerson Jr. being a rookie and Greg Newsome II in his second year. Browns safety Grant Delpit is 23 years old and missed his entire rookie season with a ruptured Achilles. At 26, Johnson is very much the elder statesman of the unit.

“I don’t believe it,” Johnson said. “It was 30-17, I thought it was over, some of the guys on their sideline said they thought it was over. It’s unbelievable.”

Chubb Touchdown Another Miscommunication for Browns

VideoVideo related to browns veteran calls out teammates after defensive meltdown2022-09-18T23:26:33-04:00

In the fourth quarter, Chubb rumbled into the end zone for this third touchdown of the day which appeared to be the final nail in the Jets’ coffin. However, by not going down and scoring rather than running out the clock, it gave the Jets a narrow sliver of life, which they capitalized on.

Stefanski took the blame for not communicating it more clearly to Chubb and the offense that milking the clock was the priority.

“That is a scenario where that is on me to communicate that to the huddle,” Stefanski said. “We have done that before. Having said that, we need to close that game out.”

The Browns have a short week to shake off the loss and get things in order. They’ll host the Steelers on Thursday night in their first AFC North tilt of the season.

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