Sports Interviews With Morgan Adsit: Bernard Pollard, Ravens Safety
During his sixth NFL season and with his third team, Ravens safety Bernard Pollard has found his home. As a Ravens starter, Pollard's style of play shined this season in a fast and physical defense. Pollard finished the regular season with 75 tackles, two sacks, 13 pass deflections and an interception.
Morgan Adsit: What is it about teams in December? Is it just the sense of urgency that the playoff picture is coming into focus?
Bernard Pollard: Well, you have to have a sense of urgency in December. … Everybody is energizing themselves and getting ready. At this point in time during the season, it's so mental. Everybody is beat up. It's a mental game. You're getting through the week of practice, and going out there and balling on Sunday.
MA: When you play in the NFL, it's not always about Xs and Os. That's why there are sometimes underdogs and why someone scores a surprise win. Was San Diego a little more tricky, because the Chargers were desperate?
BP: They have always been a competitive team. If you look at their quarterback, [Philip Rivers] is probably one of the most competitive quarterbacks in the NFL. The guy is going to make things known, and he is going to show you his flair. That's what I like about him. For us, we have to know and understand what we are going against. We are going down to California to gain a win.
MA: Rivers is dangerous, but it's not hard to get after him and frustrate him once you knock him down. But he has the big targets as well. For you in the secondary, how do you treat playing them when you see it on film? Yes, he can burn you downfield with big plays, but they also dump off those screen passes over the middle.
BP: I've played against these guys before. They are competitive guys. They're great players. They get paid a lot of money to play football, and you hit them. You cut them down, cut them down to size. With big players, you have got to attack them. You have to show them that you're here to play. You are not here to dodge nobody. With me, I'm not here to run 4.3, because I can't run 4.3. So, I play physical. That's the mentality our team has taken, and that's the mentality we have been taking.
MA: This is now the third team you have been a part of. Do you feel that maybe this team has better chemistry? Do you click better with these guys? How does it compare to other teams you have been on?
BP: This team expects to win. This team expects to be dominant. This team holds each other accountable, and I think that is one of the great things about this team. The guys in here run themselves. We all run each other, I should say. We don't have to worry about a coach getting on us to come in here and work out. We don't have to worry about a coach getting on us to practice fast or practice hard. We are doing that anyways. So that is everybody holding each other accountable, and we're excited.
MA: When you found out you weren't going to be back with the Texans, but the Ravens had interest, what was going through your head? That, "Wow, I am going to be on this physical defense where I can fit in," and then also you are going to be beside Ed Reed.
BP: Right. Well, one of the things I thought about was this is a town where they love their team. This is a team where it has always been defense. The history of the defense in the short amount of time since they started, it's been defense. For me, getting the opportunity to come here with future Hall of Famers, they are bullies on the field and that's exactly what I am. I think that Chuck [Pagano, defensive coordinator] is doing a great job with our team. Our defense coaches are all out there practicing with us. They are in there with us. They are laughing. They are dancing. They are doing everything they can. They fit in right with us. I think you just see the camaraderie with us. We are having a blast.
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Issue 169: January 2012