CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) - Broncos safety T.J. Ward appeared on Xfinity Monday Live with a swollen right hand, and he's not even sure which hit during the win over Cleveland on Sunday led to the injury.
It could have been one hit or an accumulation of them. But it's just par for the course if you're an NFL player.
"You're going to wake up with some bumps and bruises that you didn't feel before, but it's part of the game," said Ward, who will enjoy the extra rest time due to the Broncos upcoming bye week to heal up.
Ward, the AFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 4, is a leader on a defensive squad that is ranked statistically at No. 1 in the league. Despite that fact, NFL commentator Ray Lewis made some waves recently when he said Broncos defense is just good, not great.
"Everybody has their comments. We have to win the championship. We are doing some good things right now, so he's right, we are good," Ward said. "But time will determine (greatness). You have to prove it throughout the season and the playoffs. All the way to the end."
The next big test for the Broncos defense is the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football on Nov. 1.
"We're up for the best competition. They're doing some great things right now, and we're definitely up for the challenge," Ward said.
No one doubts Ward and the defense will be up for all of the challenges that lie ahead on the Broncos schedule, but what about the offense? Things have been shaky recently for Peyton Manning, and some are even suggesting a change at quarterback is something the coaches should consider.
"Do you still believe in your quarterback?" CBS4's Vic Lombardi asked Ward.
"Oh absolutely, there's not even any second guessing. Those conversations are not in our locker room at all, so we don't hear them," Ward replied. "(Manning) is going to be great right when we need him to. If it's at the end of the season or the games coming up in the middle, we know he's going to show up and be that guy."
Being a safety, Ward has seen the game change a lot in recent years. He told Lombardi the system of penalties the NFL has enacted for helmet-to-helmet hits is getting the league the results it wanted.
"You just have to be precise," said Ward, describing his new approach to tackling opponents. "It's not really that hard, honestly. Guys are kind of adapting to it and you haven't seen really too many penalties."
Ward says players are "being more conscious" of leading more with the shoulder and tacklers are keeping their heads out of the play.
"It's working," Ward said.
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