During his limited playing time last Sunday, Bernard Pollard made his presence felt.
Pollard was forced to leave Sunday’s eventual loss to the Eagles after Courtney Upshaw’s helmet was driven into his ribs during a sack of Michael Vick. The play was the final of three impressive plays from the Ravens’ strong safety.
“I took friendly fire,” Pollard said.
Pollard suffered a rib contusion but is expecting to play this Sunday night against the New England Patriots.
“I’m feeling good,” Pollard said. “I did everything in my power to try to come back [in Philadelphia] but I couldn’t. I got some rest and I’m good to go.”
Before the “friendly fire,” Pollard was having a strong game, having intercepted Vick in the end zone, ending the opening drive of the game. To start the same drive during which he was later injured, Pollard laid his shoulder into tight end Brent Celek, who was hit so hard that his chinstrap ended up covering his eyes as he lay on the ground.
Being a spectator doesn’t interest Pollard, and he voiced his frustration with not being able to further contribute to the team.
“Anytime you see your team out there and you’re watching from the sideline, it sucks as a competitor.”
Many want to blame officiating for the Ravens’ loss but Pollard attributes the falter in Philadelphia to not playing football as the Ravens are expected to.
“We have to continue to play hard, fast and physical and we can’t get away from playing Raven football,” he said. Any time we don’t play Raven football, we go out there and we lose. It kind of takes you back to some last year on away trips, we played exactly the same.”
Last Sunday, Celek torched the Ravens for 157 yards on eight catches – this week, the Ravens will welcome Rob Gronkowski into town. “Gronk” set the NFL record for touchdowns by a tight end with 17 in 2011.
Gronkowski’s physical style of play is something welcomed by Pollard, who is one of the hardest hitting safeties in the NFL.
“You know this guy is going to fight for everything that comes to him, he’s going to fight for every extra yard,” said Pollard. “You know he’s going to do everything he can to embarrass the defense.”
Pollard does look to use his physical game play to make sure Gronkowski doesn’t take advantage of the Ravens defense as Celek did last week.
“When you get physical defenses like us, we want to do everything we can to show you it’s going to be a long, hard game,” he said.
For Pollard, his main focus has to be getting back on the field. It’s possible the Ravens are simply being cautious with him in practice but, despite his earlier words, he wasn’t participating during the portion of practice open to the media on Wednesday.