Known as a hard-hitting safety when the Cleveland Browns made him a second-round draft pick from Oregon in 2010, T.J. Ward built upon that reputation when he led the team with 105 total tackles -- including 80 solo stops -- during his rookie season.
And as a hard hitter who likes to play near the line of scrimmage as much as he does backpedaling into coverage in the secondary, Ward has embraced the opportunity to play for defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
“He’s always ramped up; he’s always ready,” Ward told “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven By Liberty Ford.” “He’s always here to pump you up. You hear him on the field, and he’s always giving out checks and calls, running around. Besides that, it’s the ferocity of his defense.
“It’s an attack style, all downhill. We’re really getting after the guys. That’s what I’m most excited about.”
While Horton’s defense is designed to create havoc for opposing offenses, it has created chemistry between the Browns.
“We haven’t even gotten to camp, and guys are getting to know each other, hanging out on weekends, and just doing the stuff that teammates do,” Ward said. “It’s just learning together. No one’s a vet in this defense, so there’s no one here that’s not dealing or going through what you’re going through learning this defense.”
A fourth-year player for the Browns, Ward is one of the most tenured of Cleveland’s defenders. He said he is doing his part to help younger teammates improve their game.
“I’m stepping out on this field every day going 100 percent, trying to be a leader, and teaching the young guys what this level of football is all about and how you need to approach it because I’ve been through it,” Ward said. “These guys are eager to learn, and eager to know what this NFL thing, this Browns thing is all about. They want to hear about your experiences, what you’ve gone through, and what you learned from it. It’s good that I can share that and hand that down.”