Bernard Pollard: 'Don't Blame The Coach'


The Ravens defense has been the subject of much criticism through the first six weeks of the season, and some of the heat appears to be shifting to Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees.

But veteran safety Bernard Pollard said that the buck stops with the players.

"Don't blame the coach because the coach doesn't play," Pollard said. "Dean has made great calls. It's about us going out there and executing."

The unit ranks 26th in the NFL in total yards allowed, and is coming off back-to-back games of giving up at least 200 rushing yards a game.

Over the last decade, the Ravens have been accustomed to having one of the NFL's best defenses. They finished last season third-ranked defense in the NFL, which has made this year's start even more frustrating.

"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."

The problems on defense have often come down to blown assignments like missed tackling or taking a bad angle to the ball. The Ravens had 14 missed tackles on Sunday against the Cowboys, which allowed Dallas to rack up chunk plays and keep drives alive.

Those mistakes, Pollard emphasized, have nothing to do with the coaching staff.

"We had guys in the backfield numerous times, we just did not tackle; we did not execute," Pollard said. "I think for us, we take that personally.

"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."

Pees took over the defensive coordinator job this offseason when Chuck Pagano left to become head coach of the Colts. In his first six weeks at the helm, the Ravens have dealt with key offseason departures of Jarret Johnson and Corey Redding, and an injury that has sidelined Terrell Suggs up this point. Pees' job could get even tougher now that Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb have both been placed on injured reserve.

Regardless of the injuries and changes, Pollard said that the defense has to improve and do its part to support the offense.

The Joe Flacco-led unit is ranked ninth in the league in scoring with 26.8 points per game. Some speculate more points will be needed in order to overcome increasing defensive woes.

"We cannot continue to ask our offense to go out there and put together these 35-, 40-point games," Pollard said. "We can't continue to do that, because it's one-sided. We aren't helping them.

"We have to take a stand. 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."

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