A day-by-day Broncos player breakdown is something we've been doing since our days at BroncoTalk nearly a decade ago. This year the tradition continues as we look at the Denver Broncos roster heading into the 2015 season in our 90-in-90 series.
Name: T.J. Ward
Height: 5' 10" Weight: 210
Age: 28 Experience: 6
T.J. Ward joined the Broncos prior to the 2014 season to a great deal of excitement to much of Broncos Country. We are very familiar with names like Steve Atwater and Dennis Smith as fans of the Broncos and T.J. has shown with his previous four years of play with the Cleveland Browns that kind of devastating impact in today's NFL game.
Ward's season was fairly successful, but seemed very strange to see as a body of work. Much of this had to do with some injuries to our Linebacker corps which forced Denver to play him as more of a linebacker than his familiar strong safety role. Hopefully 2015 sees him more focused on the position that is near and dear to his heart.
Danny Trevathan will be healthy for camp
Trevathan played just three games last year due to three separate injuries to his left leg. The inside linebacker isn't looking back - only forward - as he rehabs for a stronger knee and prepares for one fun, aggressive Broncos defense.
The good: T.J. has the potential to be an huge impact player at the strong safety role in any defense. He has a superb blend of size and striking ability that shows up on the field as game-changing plays. Look back at his stats to find a solid mix of interceptions, forced fumbles, and sacks throughout his NFL career...his versatility is exactly what Wade Phillips is going to be looking for at safety on game day.
The bad: T.J. didn't have a supremely encouraging year last year which leaves many who follow the Broncos team closely a bit skeptical. He seemed lackluster at times in pass coverage, though whether that was due to the scheme he was asked to play in or his personal ability is difficult for me to discern. Many thought he would be an answer to the large TEs like Rob Gronkowski, but that skill-set wasn't necessarily on display last year and seemed to be an area of weakness.
Status: T.J. Ward is a starting quality NFL safety who can and should be a top-five player in his role by the end of this season. Barring strange injury or just a completely horrible camp, he'll be a starter for our defense and should have a big improvement in play compared to last year. The only talent that is comparable on our current roster is Darian Steward, who from everything we've heard is competing for the free safety position. We aren't going to put somebody in front of T.J. when he's rocking a 7.75 MM hit on our cap this year. Elway brought him here for a reason and this year is his best chance to truly shine in our beloved orange and blue.