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I will be honest in saying that I was on the fence about Ward until I went to my third or fourth Browns camp practice, when he started making plays and being disruptive on the defense and since then I counted the days until he could get into a real game and hit people.
And boy did he hit against the Packers to the tune of nine total tackles that led the Browns and many of those tackles were big hits too.
Whether he was in the defensive backfield, or rushing the passer, Ward was everywhere and around the ball consistently which are all great signs that he was the right pick for the Browns who need their own version of Bob Sanders or Troy Polamalu on defense.
Ward may be several years off to becoming the caliber of safety those two are, but he is already on his way because he delivered and all the reports from the offseason program and training camp are all as advertised.
Not to knock Ward down from his great first game, but he was beaten by Jennings on his touchdown catch in the first quarter, when Ward had to shift over in coverage and go man-to-man when Haden blitzed the quarterback.
Also, Ward was over powered by Packers full back John Kuhn on the goalline in the second quarter but Kuhn does have about 35 pounds on Ward too.
Great game overall for the rookie, who had many questions coming in to Cleveland.