Browns Send Clear Message to CB Greg Newsome on Role

Greg Newsome

Getty Greg Newsome II of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns are not worried about Greg Newsome’s feelings when it comes to his role on defense.

The Browns have three cornerbacks that they like in Newsome, Denzel Ward and Martin Emerson Jr. The Browns also selected Cameron Mitchell — Newsome’s former Northwestern teammate — in the fifth round of this year’s NFL draft.

Newsome ended up playing inside as a slot corner for a significant amount of his reps last season — something he was not happy with, previously expressing displeasure about it.

But new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz isn’t worried about player happiness. His focus is on putting his guys in the best positions to make the team successful.

“Happiness of players is not my concern. And that’s not going to be a determining factor of how we play guys or anything else,” Schwartz said on Wednesday at OTAs. “We’re going to do the best for our team. We’re going to play guys in the best matchups. Our job as coaches is to put guys in positions where they can succeed. But I don’t want to sound negative on Greg. He’s been outstanding and he’s had some really good reps in this stuff. He’s played outside corner, he’s playing inside corner. He’s going to be an important part of the defense, whether he’s playing inside, outside, or rushing the passer.”

Greg Newsome Pushed Back Over Trade Rumors

There was a period of the offseason when Newsome was involved in some trade rumors. He changed agents to Drew Rosenhaus, which some interpreted as a sign that Newsome was posturing for a trade. However, Newsome shot that down and expressed his passion for playing in Cleveland.

“I was mad. I really just don’t think people really, truly understand how much–first of all, Cleveland means to me,” Newsome said on April 18. “Getting drafted here, the fans embracing me right away. I really just don’t understand something like that. I wouldn’t do that. I truly adore Cleveland. I was definitely mad.”

Newsome said he’s spoken to Schwartz about what the defense will look like next season and it has brought him more peace about his role going forward.

“I think that was last year’s issue. Now, with a new defensive coordinator, just being able to sit down, talk to him, see a new scheme and things like that,” Newsome said. “I feel like last year, I was more of a linebacker in certain instances than an actual cornerback. Talking to Jim Schwartz and being able to get in his new scheme, I feel like we will work very well together.”

Denzel Ward Excited About Browns New Scheme

Miscommunications were an issue for the Browns secondary, leading to some untimely blown coverages. Schwartz’s news system is less about reading and more about reacting and doing your job, which has Ward excited.

“I think with this new system that coach is bringing in kind of takes out all those ifs and those questions,” Ward told reporters on Wednesday. “You pretty much know what you’re doing and you just got to do it. You don’t have to read too much.”

With a pair of Pro Bowls on his resume, Ward has proven to be one of the best cornerbacks in the league when healthy. But staying on the field has been an issue for the former first-round pick. He’s never played a full season and missed three games last year.

But Ward is feeling good heading into the new year and is willing to take on whatever role is asked of him.

“Expect me inside, outside — wherever,” Ward said with a smile. “Just trying to be anywhere I can to make plays and help this team out.”

The Browns defense will look different next season but the early reception of Schwartz’s new scheme is positive.

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