14

March

Could Pollard Be Packers Answer At Safety?

Bernard Pollard

Pollard could provide a big boost to Green Bay’s secondary both in his play and leadership

The Baltimore Ravens continued their house cleaning today by releasing veteran safety Bernard Pollard.  He had spent the last two seasons with the Ravens and was a vital part of the team’s success during each playoff run.

Pollard was a second round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2006 draft.  In fact, he was chosen just two spots after the Green Bay Packers selected receiver Greg Jennings.  Pollard played three seasons with the Chiefs before joining the Houston Texans for two years and then on to Baltimore.

In his seven seasons, Pollard has seen a lot of quality football and has shown no signs of diminishing skills yet.  He was a veteran of the Ravens defense and played alongside of some of the better defenders in the NFL in that of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs.  He knows how to win and he’s a proven leader.

Pollard is a player the Packers should take a look at.  With Green Bay picking 26th in the first round, it’s unlikely that they will find a starting caliber safety in this year’s draft.  The incumbents opposite Morgan Burnett are M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian and neither are without some doubts that they can be effective in a starting role.  When Charles Woodson was hurt last season, both M.D. and McMillian had to platoon at safety as neither stepped up and took hold of the starting position.  Replacing Woodson is tough.  Replacing him with either of these two  young players is asking the impossible.  Pollard, at a reasonable price tag, could be a solution and a very effective one for the Packers.

Pollard is 28 and won’t turn 29 until the latter part of this next season but he is nearing that 30 year old mark.  While questions about Jennings’ age have been aplenty (he will turn 30 this upcoming season), we must remember that he is a wide receiver.  There is plenty of valid evidence that receivers’ skills diminish after age 30.  Safety is another story altogether.

We need look no further than Green Bay’s own history to find some examples of safeties who played some of their best football after age 30:  LeRoy Butler, Eugene Robinson, Charles Woodson and Darren Sharper (although he was released prior to 30, he did have some productive years with the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints).

Pollard is also a hard-nosed safety and has made waves with some of the hits he has delivered over the years.  No team knows this better than the New England Patriots.  You may recall the hit that Pollard put on Pats quarterback Tom Brady in week one of the 2008 seasons.  Some say it was “dirty” as Pollard fell to the turf during a pass rush and then lunged at Brady’s knee.  Brady was lost for the remainder of that season due to the injury and eventually a rule was put into effect that a defensive player on the ground may no longer lunge or dive at the quarterback’s lower legs.

Pollard was also involved in a tackle on receiver Wes Welker in the 2009 season finale that resulted in Welker tearing his ACL and ending his season.  In the 2012 playoffs, Pollard rolled up on tight end Rob Gronkowski’s ankle and rendered him ineffective in the Patriots ensuing Super Bowl appearance.  During this past season’s AFC championship game, Pollard delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit on running back Stevan Ridley that knocked Ridley unconscious.  Why the Patriots haven’t signed Pollard already is beyond me!

The big questions are going to be Pollard’s price tag and his health.  One of those two reasons or both are why the Ravens let him go.  Obviously both are a concern and could end this discussion in a hurry.  Consider that with Pollard’s release coming after free agency has started, his market has not benefited from any build up and so I don’t see his price tag being as high as it may have otherwise been.  If available at a reasonable rate and if Pollard sees the value in playing for another contender, he could end up on Green Bay’s radar.

With speculation that the Packers could land free agent running back Steven Jackson and bring back Greg Jennings, also adding Pollard would catapult the Packers to the front of the free agency sweepstakes.  There is no such thing as winning in March, as Packers General Manager Ted Thompson would say, but with the right fireworks this March, they could prove to be a winner in early 2014.

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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18 Responses to “Could Pollard Be Packers Answer At Safety?”

  1. Evan says:

    “With Green Bay picking 26th in the first round, it’s unlikely that they will find a starting caliber safety in this year’s draft.”

    That’s debatable. Everyone is saying this is an exceptionally strong draft for safeties and at 26, the Packers should have their pick of the 3 or 4 top ones.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  2. Brian says:

    If he does not break the bank I think he could be a good signing. The defense could use a little more attitude. It would probally be easier to draft a RB that can contribute in year 1 then a safety. I could see the Packers maybe adding him around draft time if he is still available for a bargan price.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  3. Mojo says:

    In today’s NFL, being known as a hard hitter might work against you. I remember a number of ticky-tac calls against the Packers last year. Anyway, this would be a good signing in that it would clear up an area of concern and allow GB to focus on ILB or the o- and d-lines in the draft.

    I agree with Evan about getting a starting caliber safety at 26. They might over drafting slightly there but there are a ton of late first-to-second round starter quality safeties this year.

    If the Pack resign Jennings and sign SJax, I don’t think they’ll be a big player in the Pollard market. Those two signings and ARod and CM3 would eat-up too much of the cap they have left.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Stroh says:

      Wouldn’t count on Jennings back. I think they want the 25 yr old Finley instead of Jennings. And we know they want Jackson. No way they csn pay them all and Rodgers and Matthews. Jackson for 3M per for 3 yrs sounds good for a 29yr old RB. Draft D heavy again and SB is real possibility!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  4. ThomasMagnumPI ThomasMagnumPI says:

    The GBP should sign him solely because he crushes Patriots. No one in their right mind likes NE.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • JimR_in_DC says:

      Patriots are down the list a ways, behind duhBears, Queens, Kitties and the DrugBoys.

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  5. Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

    Don’t sign him. Draft one in the first couple rounds and let the young guys battle it out for cheap.

    We don’t have the $$ to pay everyone in house even.

    Plus, the guys’ on his 4th team for a reason. He’s an asshat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. Oppy says:

    I’m getting exhausted from hearing people talk about how hard it was/is/is going to be to fill the void left at Safety by Charles Woodson’s injury/departure..

    You know what? Charles Woodson did little to step up and make the Safety job his.. He was adequate, not good or great in his limited time at safety in our defense this past season. There was little to differentiate him from the others who stepped in to fill the position while he was out.

    BTW, Morgan Burnett is a better safety than Charles Woodson at this point.

    Yeah, I said it.

    You know who left a void that has yet to be filled by anyone, including Charles Woodson? Nick Collins.

    Anyways, yeah, we need an upgrade at safety. Charles Woodson being on the roster even while healthy last year didn’t change that.

    God bless the man, I hope he turns into a stellar safety for the last few years of his career. He wasn’t one last season.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  7. Mojo says:

    Agree Oppy. And I thought he didn’t play that well the year prior to this last one. To be honest, I’ve felt for the last couple years he’s been more of a negative than positive based on his on the field performance.

    There must have been some reason the Packers weren’t interested in offering him a new contract, even at a reduced rate. I think it’s because they believe the other safeties on the roster are better than him or would be fairly easy to find some else who is also better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  8. waldo says:

    What? I stopped reading as soon as you said the Packers couldn’t find a starting caliber safety at 26. Not only could they find one at 26, they actually might be able to find one at 52 or 78. We don’t need Pollar’s price, health, and apparent Baltimore mutiny in Green Bay. C’mon Jason!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Ron LC says:

    Plenty of money available Jackson just signed with ATLANTA. Chances are good that Jennings is going to the Queenies. The Queenies also signed Matt Castle today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. GBPDAN says:

    Ted ain’t signing anyone that will actually help this team…come on folk’s

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    • Stroh says:

      He won’t overpay for a RB w a lot of miles. Its called. Being SMART!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  11. leagueobservr says:

    Eddie Lacy ftw!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. [...] All Green Bay Packers asks Could Pollard Be Packers Answer At Safety? [...]

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  13. Michael says:

    He would fill the void Nick Collins left. A thumper safety

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