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Pollard Says His Play Not Good Enough

For the Houston Texans, Bernard Pollard remains one of their few defensive playmakers in the wake of DeMeco Ryan’s achilles tear.  He’s a mean, aggressive, sure-tackle leader on D; however, his coverage skills have been notably suspect this season.  Although acknowledged by Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell as the Houston Texans’ Mario Williams of the secondary, the statement might not be a complete complement.  Pollard, just like Williams, has not fully developed his game.  Williams, although an incredible athlete, hasn’t developed any form of a veteran, NFL, or winning mindset.  Pollard is an electrifying defender against the ground game, but his pass coverage has been a problem, among others, for the Texans’ league worst secondary.  As reported by the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Pollard knows he needs to step up his game:

“Not good enough,” Pollard said of his play. “It’s really not good enough. I have to step up and make plays, I really do. I have to make plays, but I’m not going to press it, because pressing it the last six weeks – that’s what happens when you press it.”

After achieving his career-high-four interceptions in only thirteen games last season, Pollard has yet to pick a pass this season. Against the New York Giants, for example, he was found out of coverage on touchdowns leaving rookie Kareem Jackson on the butcher’s table. Teams know he likes to hawk the line of scrimmage and keep opposing running backs at bay; he is the most significant reason for our defense’s modest rank against the run.  However his 57 tackles and one forced fumble may not keep him on the roster come next season if his coverage woes continue.  Pollard must prove effective against the pass game from here on out of this bye week.  Easily it can be argued the Texans’ coaching is keeping Pollard against the run as a run stopping strong safety, but how is to blame on Pollard or the coaching staff is on speculative.  For Pollard, he’ll take the blame.

“I’m supposed to be a leader in the secondary and I’m doing everything I can,” Pollard said. “Honestly, I take the blame. The coaches get on me and you’ve got to take the criticism. You’ve got to play with tough skin, and I am.”

Truly, the Texans’ defense weighs on Pollard’s back.  He’s not the fastest on defense, but he’s the fiercest.  He’s at every play, whether making the play, from blown coverage or just trying to rush to make a play.  His coverage skills are immature, mistiming pass deflections and a step slower than receivers upon reception.  However, if the coaching staff is to blame, then Texans’ fans will likely see that addressed in Pollard’s play come Monday against Peyton Manning and the Colts.  Last year, Manning surrendered two picks to Pollard, where in the past the Colts lined Dallas Clark up all over the field requiring Pollard’s blanket.  Now Clark’s now lost for the season, but his replacement can supposedly do the same things minus the H-back.  Come Monday, we’ll see if the Texans will give Pollard the chance to formally welcome Tamme to the league.  It’s anyone‘s guess to what defensive coordinator Frank Bush and secondary coach Dave Gibbs have devised for Pollard, but expect Pollard to take it upon his own self-effort to improve and help the team starting off against Manning and the injured Colts: Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, and Anthony Gonzalez are all questionable.  Austin Collie is out.

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