Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden tossed 17 interceptions and 14 touchdowns as a rookie, finishing the year with an underwhelming 72.6 quarterback rating. Safety T.J. Ward is confident that Weeden is ready to take a step in the right direction in 2013, though, as the fourth-year defensive back told Sirius XM Radio on Monday that Weeden looks much more comfortable in Norv Turner's offense.
"In practice, he's looked way more comfortable in this offense," Ward said of Weeden. "Most of the throws are going downfield and I think that fits him a little bit better because he's got that big arm and he can make any throw on the field. Downfield, across the field, he just looks a lot more comfortable and I think this year you're going to see that improvement and that jump from Brandon [Weeden]. He had a good rookie season, but I think this year you're going to see his name added to some of the better quarterbacks in this league."
Also on Monday, Ward spoke about the culture change that has begun within the franchise, following the addition of head coach Rob Chudzinski:
On the defense's new attacking style being fun to watch:
"I think so. I think you should be excited. If you like to see pressure on the quarterback and a lot of plays made on the back-end, then this a defense you'll love to watch. I think we have players that fit the scheme really well. We have a lot of veteran players mixed with a lot of younger players so I think we have the potential to be really good."
On Chudzinski erasing the franchise's legacy and culture of losing:
"I think he's brought a pride aspect. He wants us to be prideful of who we are and who we play for. He's teaching us a lot about the history of the Browns, the winning Browns, and how the organization has been and what we need to be prideful about playing for this team. I think that's the biggest aspect is knowing who we play for, knowing who we are and knowing our potential. He's kind of erased everything from 1999 until now and focused on what we can do from here on out. I think it's working and I think the players are really feeding into what he's bringing to the table.
"With the new coaching staff, with Coach [Norv] Turner on the offensive side and Coach [Ray] Horton on the defensive side, I think some big things can be expected. We're all buying into what all the coaches are bringing to the table and I think that's where it starts. You have to be prideful about who you're doing, who you're playing for and you have to buy in to everything the coaches are saying."