Pollard: Defense improved when coaches lightened up

Pollard: Defense improved when coaches lightened up
November 28, 2012, 7:30 pm
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The Ravens went undefeated in November and allowed the fewest points in the NFL during that span.

Despite being ranked 24th overall, the defense appears rejuvenated despite myriad injuries to the front line (Pernell McPhee, Haloti Ngata, Terrence Cody, Ma’ake Kemoeatu), secondary (Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith, Chris Johnson) and linebackers (Ray Lewis, Courtney Upshaw, Dannell Ellerbe).

Safety Bernard Pollard made a telling remark Wednesday that the turning point came when coach John Harbaugh backed off on heavy mid-week practices after the bye week. The Ravens were pounded 43-13 at the Houston Texans going into the bye. They haven’t lost since.

"We got some guys back. We’re feeling a lot healthier. The coaches are doing a great job as far as getting us rest. That’s what this game is about," Pollard said. "We play a very tough, physical football game. We beat each other up on Sundays and we cannot take time beating each other up during the week to go out there and expect to play 100% on Sunday."

While careful to not blame the previous poor defensive play on the practice schedule, Pollard credited Harbaugh with making the adjustment and listening to players’ concerns to keep them fresh.

"A lot of teams pull off the pads. I think Coach Harbaugh, he’s done a great job as far as tapering down practice and doing some things with us to get us out of here. That’s what we need. This thing is about rest. …  We have to get off our feet. We’re spending a lot of a time at the facility, a lot of time running around during the week and to go out there and expect guys to be 100% on Sunday is just not going to happen."

Pollard was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit in Sunday’s 16-13 win at the San Diego Chargers. Replays showed that Pollard did not strike the receiver with his helmet and a fine appears unlikely.

"I haven’t heard from the NFL. I don’t know what they’re doing," he said. "I haven’t been fined yet. It was a clean hit."