Zbikowski to start at strong safety?

The Ravens had their full 53-man roster out at practice today, and there are no new injuries to report as the team enters Week 1 of the regular season.

Center Matt Birk (knee), wide receiver Lee Evans (left ankle/foot), cornerback Chris Carr (hamstring) and backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor (shoulder) all were in uniform and participating during the open media portion of practice.

For those who continue to wonder about Evans, he appears to be on track to play in Sunday’s regular season opener against the Steelers.

With just four days left until the opener, one of the few remaining question marks when it comes to projecting the Ravens’ starting lineup is the strong safety spot.

Tom Zbikowski and newcomer Bernard Pollard alternated starts during the preseason, with Zbikowski starting the first and third games, and Pollard earning starts in the second and fourth contests. Each guy brings a different skill set to the table; Zbikowski is stronger in coverage, while Pollard is stout around the line of scrimmage and is known as a big-time hitter.

Asked if he expects to get the starting nod against Pittsburgh on Sunday, Pollard - who has started all but one game he’s played in since 2007 - seemed to hint that he could be called on to come off the bench.

“I guess we’ll see,” Pollard said. “My main purpose and goal is to help this team in whatever way I can. If that’s starting, if that’s coming off the bench ... it’s an adjustment for me. It really is. It’s an adjustment. I’m a competitive person, I love to play. I haven’t come off the bench in a while, so it’s just one of those things now where I have to adjust, but it’s not going to take that fire out of me. When I get on the field, I’m going to be a dog.”

Pollard was the Texans’ starting strong safety the last two seasons, and got 31 starts in 32 games with the Chiefs from 2007-2008. While the coaches have made it clear that both Pollard and Zbikowski (as well as fellow safety Haruki Nakamura, for that matter) will rotate in as a group, many have assumed that the 6-foot-1, 224-lb. Pollard would win the starting job to begin the season because of the physical presence he brings to the back end of the defense.

That might not be the case, at least this week, but Pollard said he’s ready to contribute regardless of how he’s called upon.

“You know what? When my name is called, I’m going to go out there and do whatever I have to do,” Pollard said. “I think Chuck (Pagano, defensive coordinator) and the rest of the coaches know what I’m capable of. I know what I’m capable of, but it’s just one of those things now where I’ve got to sit back and watch this thing, and when it’s time for me to go in, I’m going to wreak havoc.”

That includes this Sunday’s game against the Steelers, a team whose hard-hitting brand of football matches Pollard’s.

“That’s why I came here,” said Pollard, when asked about competing against Pittsburgh. “On this team, on the field, you have bullets, and that’s what I love. I’m a dog at heart. I’m one of those guys who I want to come in and do whatever I have to do to help this team win in any way that I can.”

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