T.J. Ward Takes Cheap Shot At Browns

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The Cleveland Browns made the decision to move on from Pro-Bowl Safety T.J. Ward this offseason and sign Veteran Donte Whitner to replace him.  Ward signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos. Ward spent four seasons with the Browns and finished either 4-12 or 5-11 in every season. So it would be expected that he notice some differences when arriving in Denver with a Broncos team that went to the Super Bowl last year. Ward, who was recently arrested on an assault charge for actions that took place in a Denver strip club,  had a lot to say about the “winning culture” he has encountered in Denver.

“Nothing against Cleveland but this is a winning culture. They’re used to winning and you treat all things the same way, period: with a preparation to win. That’s how the coaches treat you and that’s how the players treat each other. You expect everybody to know their job, do their job and do it the right way. After so much losing in Cleveland, it’s hard to change the expectations. But in Denver, everyone expects to succeed. We’re just expecting to win. That’s it. That’s the only expectation. That’s not the expectation in Cleveland.”

Anytime someone starts a statement with “Nothing against…”, they are about to say something insulting. The truth is that Ward is right about the Browns culture. However, the reason for the difference in expectation stems from a number of different things. The Browns lacked any semblance of consistency in their front office and coaching staff while Ward was in Cleveland.  Another problem, was the lack of any winning leadership on the Browns roster. In fact, one of the reasons that the browns decided to let Ward walk and paid more for an older player in Donte Whitner, was to address that lack of leadership. The acquisitions of Whitner and Karlos Dansby have already had an effect on the way the team views itself and its expectations.

It wasn’t long ago that the Broncos were lost themselves. A disappointing Josh McDaniels hire, along with the drafting of Tim Tebow had the Denver front office scrambling. The issues were quickly rectified with the hire of John Fox and then the signing of possibly the NFL’s greatest quarterback in Peyton Manning. Those kind of guys are leaders and winners. With Fox and Manning, the Broncos have the highest of expectations and Ward walked right into the thick of that.

Ward taking a shot at the Browns is a weak move. Why players find it necessary to bad mouth their previous teams befuddles me. What good does it serve a player to compare his new team’s status to his old ones’? It’s in poor taste. Ward was a fan favorite in Cleveland and it is disappointing to hear him say those things. The irony is that, it is with Ward’s replacement that the Browns are attempting to change their culture. Whitner brings valuable winning experience to the position and makes an already strong defense better. Browns defensive coordinator Jim O’Neill has called Whitner, the “Leader of the Defense” and a “Follow me or else” guy. Unlike Ward who needed the winning culture provided for him, Whitner is dedicated to creating a winning culture with the Browns.

By: Brad Ward

Follow @CST_BradWard on Twitter

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