Pollard Fits Right In With Ravens

New safety Bernard Pollard is eager to compete with Zbikowski, Nakamura.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Thursday, August 4th, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Categories: 2011 Training Camp, Ryan Mink

First impressions of Bernard Pollard are that he looks like a linebacker and looks like he’s waiting for any excuse to smack somebody.

Following Pollard’s first practice in Baltimore, a practice in which he twice blew up blockers in the backfield and notched an interception, the Ravens’ new 6-foot-1, 224-pound safety talked about hitting opponents, critics, and even his own teammates.

That physical attitude is why Pollard feels right at home in Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano’s aggressive defense. Pollard was beaming after his first day of practice, which took place just hours after signing a two-year contract with the Ravens.

“You kind of see the direction that they’re going,” Pollard said. “They want guys that are going to run around and hit you. They want guys that are going to get that ball. They want guys that are going to get after that quarterback. I fall right into that.

“I’m going to hit you. I’m going to do whatever I have to do to get that ball. And it’s 10 other guys thinking the same way I am.”

Bernard Pollard Speaks with the Baltimore Media for the First Time
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The six-year veteran has made a name for himself as a physical player.

He made headlines and a new league rule for his hit on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s knees back in 2008, which resulted in torn ACL and MCL ligaments.

Last year, he led the Houston Texans with 111 tackles, four forced fumbles and 2.5 sacks. In 2009, he logged 102 tackles, 1.5 sacks and four interceptions.

Pollard was also a full-time starter in his final two seasons in Kansas City, but said the Chiefs’ system just didn’t fit him. He said he was put in a similar position in Houston, where the Texans secondary ranked last in the NFL in average passing yards allowed per game (267.5).

Pollard drew media criticism for his coverage skills. He chose Baltimore because he believes the Ravens will allow him to “not hold back.”

“We just had some things go wrong last year,” Pollard said of Houston. “I’m looking to bounce back. I’m looking to be used, whether it’s blitzing, whether it’s covering, I’m ready to shut people up. Me as a player, I get tired of hearing so many people say things, and you try to block it out, but I’m on a mission.”

His mission for now is to become the Ravens’ starting strong safety next to Ed Reed, whom Pollard stayed close to during practice to soak up knowledge.
Pollard will compete with fourth-year safeties Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura, who are both eager to break out of the backup role.

He called them both very good players, but is excited for the healthy competition.

“I don’t want nothing handed to me,” Pollard said. “I’m the type of dude where I’m going to hit you in the mouth and I’m going to take it from you. If no one wants to respect me, I’m going to take it from you. I think every guy on this team is that way and Zibby is the exact same way. It’s going to be fun.”

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