Browns DC Gregg Williams blames rookie CB Denzel Ward's injury on 'stupid' tackling

If you’ve watched “Hard Knocks,” you know Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams doesn’t mince words.

In regards to rookie cornerback Denzel Ward suffering an injury in the Browns’ preseason game on Thursday, Williams blamed the fourth overall pick of the draft for not listening to him.

“I was glad to hear [it wasn’t serious] and maybe he’ll finally listen to me and stop doing those stupid things the way he’s trying to tackle and tackle the way I tell him to tackle and he won’t get hurt,” Williams said Sunday, according to

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Ward has been dealing with back spasms since the injury.

Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams wasn’t pleased with Denzel Ward’s tackling technique. (AP)

Denzel Ward tried to wrap up Zach Ertz low

Ward was hurt when he went low on Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and tried to wrap him up. Ward was bent back awkwardly and stayed down for several moments.

While it looked bad, Ward escaped with just spasms. He was back at practice two days later, said.

Ward, a 190-pound rookie, gave up 60 pounds to Ertz. While Williams’ approach of ripping Ward publicly might be harsh, he probably has a point. Williams said Ward should have cut Ertz’s legs out instead of trying to wrap him up.

 “It depends on the size of the person, and also I’m not worried as much about the wrap-up part of it,” Williams said, according to “It’s about getting the guy to the ground. A lot of times what you do is you cut the guy. He should have cut the guy at that time right there instead of a 290-pound man running over his face.”

Gregg Williams doesn’t hold back

Williams has demonstrated tough love with his players throughout his NFL career, and we have seen that on “Hard Knocks,” the HBO show that is featuring the Browns this season.

When asked about Ward’s tackling, Williams said Ward needs to stay healthy or “Otherwise, hey, he’s not a football player.” 

“And I tell them all the time, there’s two words that begin with the letter ‘A’ they have to own to be a professional football player. One’s accountable. The next one’s available,” Williams said, according to “When you’re not available, you’re working on your training room internships.”

Perhaps the pain from an ill-advised attempt to drag down the 250-pound Ertz will be a good lesson for Ward. If not, his defensive coordinator will be happy to remind him.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!