Tag:Bernard Pollard
Posted on: September 12, 2010 10:28 am
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Hot Routes 09.12.10: Gameday No. 1

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

- According to ESPN.com's Adam Schefter, Tim Tebow has won the No. 2 QB spot in Denver behind Kyle Orton. He also will have a package of plays to run today in Jacksonville.

-The Akron Beacon Journal came up with 20 questions about the Browns this year. The most important one in my eyes: How well will QB Jake Delhomme fit in with the offense?

- It’s unclear if Kansas City rookie Dexter McCluster will play in Monday’s season opener against San Diego. He practiced in front of the media Saturday, but the team listed him as doubtful with an unspecified illness.

- Each of the Raiders top-three picks (LB Rolando McClain, DE Lamarr Houston, and C Jared Veldheer) of the 2010 NFL Draft will start today against the Titans.

- A nice column by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Bryan Burwell on Rams starting QB Sam Bradford. Burwell writes that Bradford is ready for the job.

-Steelers WR Hines Ward isn’t done talking about QB Ben Roethlisberger quite yet. Ward, who has been a critic of Roethlisberger in the past but has publicly lent support during Roethlisberger’s latest off-field troubles, said his teammates are the ones suffering through the QB’s four-game suspension.

- The Texans will have a chance to improve upon their 1-15 alltime record against the Colts when they play host to Indianapolis today. “We’re tired of losing ,” SS Bernard Pollard said. “It’s to the point now where it has to hurt.”

- Jaguars WR Jarett Dillard’s season is over before it began. Jacksonville placed him on the IR list Saturday. He missed most of training camp with a foot injury.

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Posted on: August 11, 2010 6:33 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2010 7:12 pm
 

Top moments of Hard Knocks

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Hard Knocks premieres tonight at 10 p.m. ET on HBO, and it’s tough not to be a little excited. I’ve watched every season of the show, even when I was a casual NFL fan. Even when while watching teams I didn’t care much about, the drama, the film-making, the voice-overs and the interviews make for a beautiful viewing experience.

Last year, while covering the Bengals for CBSSports.com, I was a part of it. Early in training camp – actually, I believe it was in Episode 1 – TE Ben Utecht went down with a scary-looking neck injury, and it’s likely the last time Utecht will step on a field. After the ambulance took him away, Bengals PR extraordinaire Jack Brennan got all the reporters together on the side of the field to give us an update.

The Hard Knocks cameras were there, and they got each of our faces as we listened hard for the news. The next day, a buddy said to me, “Hey man, you look like crap in HD.” And that was the extent of my starring role on Hard Knocks.

I didn’t love the show last year, probably because I already knew what had happened by the time each episode aired – one of the best parts of the show is the drama that’s built by the fringe guys trying to make the 53-man roster – and because I learned a few of the tricks that go into making a TV show like that.

But aside from that, it’s just a cool behind-the-scenes experience (and frankly, most everything that HBO shoots is gorgeous), and this year, it should be extra fun because the ever-loquacious Rex Ryan will be one of the stars. I’ll watch the show tonight and get my review of it up on the blog about midnight or so. Until then, here are the top three moments (as picked by me) in Hard Knocks history.

3. Dallas’ Marion Barber playing the piano (I’m a huge fan of somebody who’s not a pianist that can actually play the piano. That’s one reason I love Chico and Harpo Marx, and why Zach Galifianakis has become such a big star).



2. Kansas City’s Bernard Pollard can dance! In his underwear! Like a stripper! With his teammates going wild around him!



1. Marvin Lewis, in a phrase the Bengals beat writers imitated all season long: “Be a pro!” Warning: this video has some naughty language.



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Posted on: June 30, 2010 12:06 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2010 3:31 pm
 

Positional rankings: Safeties

As we wave goodbye to offseason news and as we wait for the regular season to begin – or, at the very least, training camp and the preseason – we fill our days with thoughts of the abstract, and we ponder questions that can never be truly answered. Who are the best players in the NFL at their position? What separates the top man at his spot from No. 4 and No. 5?

Well, we’re attempting to answer that in June and July. Andy and Josh will explore each position on the field and debate the merits and flaws
of each player. Clearly, it’s reasonable for smart men to disagree, and these arguments during the next few weeks will only reinforce that notion. Even as we watch film, talk to NFL insiders and conduct our own painstaking research, our top-five lists, though they’ll likely bear some similarities, will disagree. Which makes this whole endeavor worthwhile.   

Today, we debate the top safeties – both free safeties and strong safeties.


Andy Benoit’s top five

Troy Polamalu (Getty Images)
5. Nick Collins, Packers

4. Brian Dawkins, Broncos

3. Darren Sharper, Saints


2. Ed Reed, Ravens

1. Troy Polamalu, Steelers


The safety position has become the lynchpin to so many of the complex defensive schemes we see in today’s NFL. Versatility is key. On that note, Polamalu is the most valuable defensive player in the NFL. He is a thumper against the run, he has fantastic range in coverage and, wherever he is on the field, he’s a first-class playmaker.

Polamalu’s presence is what enables Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to be aggressive in his scheme. We saw last season that when Polamalu is out of the lineup, the Steelers D can be reactionary.

Reed makes the list on the assumption that his bum hip won’t be a major issue come September. He may be the best centerfielder in NFL history. Sharper is an interception machine and, more importantly, a leader. Without his stability in the New Orleans’ secondary last season, we’d have a different defending Super Bowl champ right now. Dawkins turns 35 this season but hasn’t lost a step. Amazing. Collins has become a regular at the Pro Bowl. His instincts have improved every year, plus, he’s not a bad tackler.

Josh Katzowitz’s top five

5. Bob Sanders, Colts

4. Bernard Pollard, Texans

3. Brian Dawkins, Broncos

2. Ed Reed, Ravens

1. Troy Polamalu, Steelers



Well, it’s hard to argue against Polamalu. He’s the safety who scares every QB in the league, and you could really see the impact on his team when he was injured last season. The frenetic, sideline-to-sideline impact Polamalu made simply wasn’t there.

As long as Ed Reed is healthy and returns to play – he recently said he’s about 35 percent healthy, which doesn’t sound promising – he’s No. 2. Not much to be said about Dawkins – one of the top safeties in NFL history. Pollard flies under the radar because he spent his first couple years in the league with Kansas City and he hasn’t been a Pro Bowler, but he’s amassed 289 tackles in the past three seasons to go with four interceptions and three fumble recoveries in just 13 games last year. Was it coincidence that, when Pollard signed with Houston, the Texans’ total defensive yards and defensive rushing yards decreased dramatically? I don’t think so.

Sanders hasn’t played much the past few years because of knee and arm injuries, but, at the age of 29, he’s still in his prime and still has the talent that led him to two Pro Bowls and the 2007 NFL’s defensive player of the year honor. Yes, he’s not healthy very much, but when he is, he’s one of the top guys in the league. I like Nick Collins as well and I think his stock is rising, but I just don’t think he’s a top-five guy yet.

Andy’s rebuttal


I like that you went with Pollard – that shows you’re paying attention. Few people even know about the fifth-year pro. The Texans put Pollard in attack mode last season – as opposed to react mode that Kansas City stuck him in – and he blossomed. Pollard is a formidable run-stopper and underrated playmaker. I want to see him perform at a high level for a 16-game span before giving him the nod, though.

Shortly after writing my list, Texans tight end Owen Daniels told me in a phone interview that Sanders is the best opponent he’s faced. That made me regret not including the former Defensive Player of the Year. Honestly, I love the guy. But the fact of the matter is, Sanders is made of glass and the Colts were 14-2 without him last season.

Someone else we both need to consider is Saints strong safety Roman Harper. He’s the X-factor in Gregg Williams’ aggressive blitz scheme.

Josh’s final word


Yeah, I had reservations about Sanders, because he’s played eight games the past two years, and how can you call a guy a top-five safety when he’s played so little?

You’re right about Harper. The guy can flat-out tackle, he’s a force when he crosses the line of scrimmage and gets into his opponent’s offensive backfield, and he’s coming off a heck of a year.

It’s funny, though. Three guys on my list (Polamalu, Reed and Sanders) are coming off major injuries. Two guys on your list are at least 34 (Sharper and Dawkins), Reed is 31 and Polamalu is 29. Which tells us what exactly? I don’t know. Maybe they just don’t make Hall of Fame safeties like they used to, or maybe the younger safeties are just extremely mediocre. Either way, enjoy the safeties on our list for as long as they’re playing. Some of them won’t be around much longer.

--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com