Bonecrusher Is A Knockout

River Falls, Wisconsin - After the workout at family fun night, I drove back to the hotel and tried to think of the one player on defense that has made the biggest impression. It didn't take long, and when they came to mind I laughed, becoming very scared for some of the Chiefs 2006 opponents.

As I drove a little longer, I became downright frightened. After witnessing Bernard ‘Bonecrusher' Pollard execute a perfect blitz last night, shooting between the guard and tackle untouched, it dawned on me that he's the real deal.

On the other end of the blitz was Chiefs quarterback Damon Huard. If Bonecrusher had made contact with Huard, he'd had to have been flown to a hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota after being knocked out.

As that play unfolded, I closed my eyes. In my mind's eye, I saw Bonecrusher hitting Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer or the Bengals Carson Palmer. I then imagined the look on Pollard's face as he stands over them, each quarterback wondering who threw that right hook.

It reminded me of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston after he knocked him to the canvas in the first round of their legendary 1964 fight. For Ali, Liston was no slouch. But that classic look, with Ali standing over Liston as he lay motionless on his stomach, was priceless. It also changed the face of boxing forever, as that night a star was born.

Back to the present, with my eyes still closed, I grinned. That night, just as Pollard will do, Ali delivered a knockout blow, transforming Liston from upright god to canvas immortal. Liston would never be the same in the boxing ring ever again.

When I finally opened my eyes, I laughed out loud. And I said to myself, "I'm glad Bernard Pollard is playing for the Chiefs." Quarterbacks who get hit by Pollard this season will feel it into the following Sunday. Some might feel it for weeks or months.

Pollard's hitting ability has been on display the entire training camp. After Friday night's scrimmage in Mankato, Warpaint Illustrated Beat Writer Mike Nugent mentioned in his daily blog that, ‘Pollard would have killed people' if he hadn't held back. It wasn't far from the truth. In fact, it was dead on accurate.

During the Chiefs' glory days, they always had active safeties, players that could deliver a hit. Players like Lloyd Burruss and Deron Cherry were ferocious hitters. Burress loved to drop his shoulder and level running backs that found their way into the secondary. Cherry met them head on. Nobody will ever forget the pop that Deron Cherry laid on Bo Jackson during the 1987 season.

Pollard might end up being better than both of them. His hits will be stuff of legend. It'll only take one hit during a regular season game at Arrowhead, and the Chiefs will have to install a hit meter on the scoreboard. My guess is that they'll need to make it bigger after he racks up 10, because as he grows in this defense and he gains confidence, that number will skyrocket.
In training camp, Pollard and fellow rookie safety Jarrad Page (who I might add is making a name for himself) are getting over 50 percent of the defensive snaps together. That means both will get playing time, even if Pollard is ahead of his fellow UCLA safety at this point.

What Pollard brings to this defense other than his hitting ability is speed. He can drop back in coverage with the best the team has, and he can blitz in a gear I've never seen from a safety.

On draft day, the folks who run the NFL Draft Show at ESPN said that Pollard was a reach in the second round. So far, it looks like they're completely wrong.

Next Saturday, Pollard and the rest of his teammates will head down to Houston to take on the Texans in their first exhibition game. Starting safeties Greg Wesley and Sammy Knight will play a few defensive series, and then Pollard will get his chance. It might take him a play or two to get his feet wet, but after months of OTAs, mini-camps and training camp practices, it shouldn't take long for Pollard to hit someone.

And when that happens, I'll close my eyes and smile some more.

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories