Snub by Pro Football Focus motivating Browns cornerback Greg Newsome

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Jul. 27—Nothing gets a cornerback going like being disrespected, and so it goes with Browns second year player Greg Newsome.

Back on May 20, Pro Football Focus tweeted a simple question: "Which cornerback duo is the best?" The choices were Xavien Howard and Byron Jones of the Dolphins, Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes Jr. of the Packers, Marlon Humphries and Marcus Peters of the Ravens plus Darius Slay and James Bradberry of the Eagles.

In other words, the duo of Denzel Ward and Newsome was not an option.

Deshaun Watson tosses a pass to Anthony Schwartz on Wednesday during the first practice of #Browns camp. At the other end of fieldhouse, Denzel Ward (21) walks through his foot injury before the defense runs a play. Ward is on P.U.P. and can't practice. pic.twitter.com/6LBLZerjzY

— Jeff Schudel (@jsproinsider) July 27, 2022

Browns tight end David Njoku saw the tweet from PFF and defended his teammates in his own tweet: "They sleepin!! @denzelward @gnewsii Wake em up"

The Browns held their first practice of training camp this summer on July 27. Rain forced the practice inside the fieldhouse.

Ward is on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a foot injury sustained June 16. He is unable to practice until he passes his physical. So he and Newsome were not on the field together for the walkthrough practice to start training camp. Even so, the perceived snub by Pro Football Focus got Newsome's attention.

"I love stuff like that," Newsome said before practice. "I love negative things on social media about me and things like that. I think it's just gonna motivate me. I'm one of those people that when I see that stuff, I don't get mad. I get motivated. Obviously, we're not on there. We're not doing something right yet, so we'll get there this season."

PHOTOS: Browns training camp practice, July 27, 2022

To give Pro Football Focus its due, though it did not include Ward-Newsome among its top four cornerback tandems in the league, it did rate the Browns' secondary, which includes free safety John Johnson III, strong safety Grant Delpit and cornerback Greedy Williams, third-best in the NFL. Only the the secondaries of the Ravens and Buccaneers were rated higher.

"This unit not only has proven studs in Ward and Johnson, but also three ascending top-50 draft picks who have all played two or fewer NFL seasons," the PFF analysis reads. "What this unit could be is scary to think about, as we already saw quality play from Newsome, Williams and Delpit down the stretch in 2021."

The secondary rankings were published five weeks after Ward and Newsome failed to make the cut.

"It doesn't matter about rankings or anything like that, honestly," Newsome said. "We just gotta get our respect and to get our respect, we gotta earn it every single day. That's gonna start at practice every day, just getting better and then obviously we'll be able to show it this season."

Head coach Kevin Stefanski said he expects Ward will be cleared to practice "in the next couple weeks." Meanwhile, Newsome is expected to get practice time at right corner and over the slot receiver.

Players have two more days of walkthrough practices before pads go on July 30 for the first time. Newsome, selected with the 26th pick of the 2021 draft, definitely isn't a rookie anymore.

"I just feel 10 times more comfortable," he said. "I feel like I'm in my junior year in college where I know the scheme. I know the guys. I know where they're going to be on the players, so I just feel a lot more comfortable.

"Some of those plays where I messed up, maybe mentally, I just have to correct those and just to be a better leader this year. Be a lot more vocal. Those are my goals."

Newsome played in 12 games last season with 11 starts. He made 37 tackles and broke up nine passes. He is looking for his first NFL interception.