Safety Bernard Pollard walked into the middle of a throng of reporters Wednesday and didn’t hold back in the slightest.
The seven-year veteran had strong language, perhaps the kind not for younger ears or eyes, when talking about the performance of the Ravens defense this season.
Baltimore ranks 26th in the NFL in total defense (396.7 yards allowed per game), 26th in run defense and 22nd in pass defense. The Ravens let the Chiefs and Cowboys accumulate more than 200 yards on the ground each of the last two weeks, including a dubious Ravens record of 227 rushing yards allowed to Dallas.
Pollard indicated that both he and his defensive teammates are less than pleased with their play.
“We should be pissed off, and we are pissed off about the way we played - the things that we’ve put on film,” Pollard said. “We own it. We are going to fix it, and I think it starts with the preparation throughout the week. Things are going to change.”
Personnel-wise, they’re going to change right away because of the likely season-ending injuries suffered by Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb. But that won’t make it easier on the unit.
Pollard said the rest of the team is ready to move on and strive to improve without them, however.
“This is this game. Injuries are going to happen. We cannot help who they happen to. Guys are going to get dinged up. Guys are going to get beat up. Guys are going to be lost for the season,” Pollard said. “It just so happens that we lost two great players on Sunday. Next man up - it’s been like that all year. We have been playing with a lot of guys. Like I continue to tell people, we are jelling as a defense. We are still continuing to jell, but I think it’s to a point now where we have to take a stand.
“We have to take a stand. Two weeks in a row, 200 freaking yards rushing? We have to take a stand on what we do. We have to walk out there with pride. We have to play pissed off. We have to. It’s a must. ... We have to support our offense and special teams getting the ball back to them. We cannot continue to ask our offense to go out there and put together these 35-, 40-point games. We can’t continue to do that, because it’s one-sided. We aren’t helping them.”
Pollard seemed aware of the quiet media buzz, perhaps a hum, that defensive coordinator Dean Pees could be in trouble because of the rough start to his first year in the position.
“Don’t blame the coach. Don’t blame the coach because the coach doesn’t play. Dean has made great calls. It’s about us going out there and executing. We have not been executing,” Pollard said. “We are tough and physical. Nobody can question the abilities that we have. We get pressure in the backfield. We had guys in the backfield numerous times, we just did not tackle, we did not execute. I think for us, like I said, we take that personally.
“The coaches have done a great job. They are here all day, every day, planning, putting things together for us to go out there and get the job done, but it’s on us to execute. They can’t push a button to make us wrap up and tackle. We are pros. We have to go out there and play like it.”