Chargers' Pollard wants to be part of rotation

The Chargers have made incredible progress over the last twelve months, not just as a team, but on an individual level as well. The team relied on contributions from several rookies last season, and those players are now a year wiser. One such player is Robert Pollard, a second-year defensive end out of TCU.

Robert Pollard spent the majority of last season on the practice squad, but was signed to the active roster prior to the season finale against Kansas City. So while his game experience is still limited, the lessons he learned during his rookie season were invaluable.

"I feel a lot more comfortable this year," Pollard said. "I'm not the youngest guy here anymore. I know the system now, which helps a lot."

Now that he has received a taste of what NFL life is like, he knows how much hard work he has to invest if he is to earn a roster spot on this deep team. That is why he is showing more dedication this offseason than ever before.

Normally, Pollard and other TCU alums would return to their alma mater during the offseason as a sort of Horned Frog reunion. This year, however, Pollard has been unable to return, as he has been too busy conditioning for the upcoming season.

"I've just been doing the workouts, pretty much," Pollard said. "We have four workouts a week, so it keeps me busy. I'm just trying to get ready for next season."

As he continues to make himself game-ready from a physical standpoint, he likewise strives to continue his mental progression. Because he has been in the system for over a year now, he feels as though he is much better prepared to execute without hesitation.

"I have a better understanding of the plays," admitted Pollard. "Not just what to do, but why to do it and how to do it."

He also has a better understanding of what the coaching staff expects of him. He sat down with Coach Schottenheimer at the end of last season, and he left the meeting feeling very upbeat about the opportunities in front of him.

"They told me they liked what they saw in me," recalled Pollard. "I still need to work on some things, but I feel pretty good right now. It's fun to be a part of the team and to really learn the game…learning how to break down plays and stuff like that."

It is no surprise that Pollard is having fun, seeing as all of the success the team enjoyed last season. Winning makes everything better, and Pollard knows that the stakes are even higher now that this team has Super Bowl aspirations. But Pollard, much like the team, is not getting ahead of himself just yet.

"I want to be a part of the rotation," said Pollard when asked of his personal goals for the upcoming season. "That and just to continue to work hard."

It is not often that you hear a player cite continued hard work as a personal goal. It's that kind of blue-collar work ethic that helped the Chargers win the division title last year. Now let's just see if it's enough to earn Robert Pollard a spot on an even deeper roster.

Michael Lombardo can be reached at

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