Are You Ready For The Bonecrusher?

The nickname "Bonecrusher" perfectly describes the hitting ability of Chiefs' rookie safety Bernard Pollard. Now he's learning how to become a complete NFL safety.

Pollard's off to a pretty good start. The Purdue product was oozing enthusiasm this weekend, soaking up every tidbit of information from the coaches and talking with veterans like cornerback Benny Sapp and safety William Bartee.

"It was great," Pollard said. "I had a lot of fun out here with the guys, just running around and getting my assignments. Now, everything's over, we can just chill and get to know more things."

The safety had especially high praise for Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards. Edwards spent a lot of time coaching up the entire secondary, but was seen several times giving Pollard individual instruction.

"The man knows what he's doing," said Pollard. "That's a big thing. That's a great thing to have, a (head) coach who played defensive back, and he's able to coach YOU, and that's one thing that I really haven't had before. It's been a great process, and the man knows what he's talking about, and I look forward to him making me a great player."

Defensive backs coach David Gibbs also spent some time with the young safety, working on things like breaking down and tackling and coverage techniques.

"Coach Gibbs is a well rounded coach and he knows what he's doing, too," Pollard said. "He stays on me, and I like that. That's something that will help me to succeed."

Gibbs is working with Pollard to make him a better tackler, but Pollard finds it hard to fight off the urge to show why he's called "Bonecrusher". He had the opportunity to lay several vicious hits in mini-camp, and had the pads been on, there would have been some serious collisions.

"Its fun," laughed Pollard. "Coach Gibbs wants me to tag guys instead of running by them, and I'm laughing it off, but it's a must. I've got to learn how to break down on my tackles and fit up, and I don't mind him yelling at me, I don't mind the coaching because that's just going to make me a better player."

One of the more surprising things about Pollard was his coverage ability. He's already well on his way to becoming a cover safety as well as a hitter. In the Chiefs' cover two scheme it's important for a safety to be able to cover. Both safeties are responsible for a side of the field and have to cover any receivers that enter their zone.

"That's one thing I want to show the coaches and my teammates that I can play man coverage," said Pollard. "I can open up my hips."

Still, Pollard knows he's got a long way to go. Fortunately, he has the luxury of time and a pair of great veteran tutors.

"I look forward to putting on pads and coming out here and learning more things," Pollard said, "especially from the other safeties coming in, Greg Wesley and Sammy Knight."

If Pollard stays focused, keeps a positive attitude and keeps learning, he'll flourish in the NFL. For now, he'll be content with showing that the Chiefs didn't waste a second round pick on him.

"Some people doubted me, and everyone's entitled to their own opinion, I can't help that," said Pollard. "As long as I've got my teammates with me, as long as I've got my coaches backing me up, I'm going to come out here and play football." Top Stories