It's that time of the week in which we are supposed to hand out a game ball to someone on the Cleveland Browns for their positive efforts this past week. Since the Browns were on a bye week though, I'm going to do what I believe I did last season: turn the tables and highlight a player who I have been disappointed with this season. At this point, that player is safety T.J. Ward.
In his second year with the team, my hopes were high for Ward, but I can't say the same about my expectations. After a strong start to last season, I thought he slowly faded off when it came to coverage and being a difference maker on tackles.
Not including his special teams tackles last season, Ward had a team-high 105 combined tackles in 2010, which is an average of 6.5 per game. With a small sample size of just four games this year, he has 18 combined tackles, which is an average of 4.5 per game.
Tackles are not the defining measure of a players' performance by any means, but when the Browns drafted Ward, I expected him to jump in and be the type of player who is making the type of plays a Joe Haden or a D'Qwell Jackson are making. Instead, he still seems a bit lost. I'm not thinking of specific plays, but just in general -- it seems like Ward is often out of position. I know Mike Adams and Usama Young splitting time at one safety position has been viewed as a vulnerability on defense, but it does not seem to me that Ward is playing on a much higher level either.
What do you think? Am I overreacting and has Ward been fine, or have you been disappointed with his play as well?