Like most teams, the Cleveland Browns have had a few position battles to work through over the course of training camp and the preseason. For them, determining roles in the secondary was one of the top priorities, with, for example, cornerback Greedy Williams returning from injury, and then having drafted another cornerback, Greg Newsome II, in the first round in April.
Williams has missed playing time due to injury, so that’s given Newsome plenty of time to accumulate reps over the course of the past few weeks, which should lead to him being prepared to play at the start of the season.
“There are still some steps that I have to take, but I think last week versus the Giants, I took a big step in just going out there and just playing free”, he said last week. “I have to thank a lot to my coaches who, like I said, have a bunch of trust in me to go out there and do the right thing”.
“I have some of the best teammates and some of the best vets out there in my room who tell me to just go out there and just play freely”, he continued. “Every single time they tell me to just go out there and trust yourself and do what you do. Without those guys, I think I would still be a little bit behind, but with them, I think, like I said, last game I took a huge leap in just trusting myself and playing fast”.
The Browns’ top cornerback is Denzel Ward, a first-round pick in 2018 who has a Pro Bowl under his belt, but he hasn’t been in the NFL all that long. Williams was drafted a year later, but he missed all of the 2020 season due to a nerve injury in his shoulder.
“Going into the second week, I was like, ‘Okay, I know I belong”, Newsome said regarding his comfort level on the field and how he felt that he was prepared and equipped to play at the NFL level. “I know I still have to change some things, but I’ll be ready”.
Cleveland plays its first game on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars on September 14, so they still have two weeks to work things out. Newsome is listed behind Williams, but I don’t know if that’s going to be the case when they actually take the field, with free agent signing Troy Hill also factoring in a possible slot role.