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Pollard on scrambling QBs: 'I swear to you, I'm going to kill 'em'


Pollard on scrambling QBs: 'I swear to you, I'm going to kill 'em'

The fallout from Ed Reed’s overturned one-game suspension continues Wednesday, with fellow Ravens safety Bernard Pollard making the most poignant remarks about the NFL’s punitive system towards defenders and vowing to have no mercy on quarterbacks who run to the sideline from now on.

Reed was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty in a 13-10 win vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, his third in three seasons, that resulted in him being banned from the Ravens’ facilities all week and missing Sunday’s game at the San Diego Chargers. But the appeals process reduced the penalty to a $50,000 fine Tuesday and he'll be allowed to play.

Pollard was still ticked about his missed the tackle on Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich, and blamed it in large part on the NFL’s rules that have especially made hard hits near the sideline taboo.

Leftwich ran toward the sideline and appeared to be heading out of bounds. He then turned up field to complete a 31-yard touchdown run to give the Steelers a 7-0 lead.

The Ravens were able to come back to win, but the play was a microcosm of the difficulty defensive players. The rules are slanted toward offenses, and Pollard, who has had a few unnecessary roughness penalties this season, tried to pull up as he anticipated a flag.

"I don’t want to make an excuse, but it is getting tougher for us as defensive players. Anytime we play this game and think (too much) that’s when all kind of bad things are going to happen. I thought he honestly was going out of bounds," Pollard said. "He started going that way and then he turned upfield. …

"We laughed at it because obviously we got the win. Those are things where now if a quarterback’s going to the sideline and I got a chance I swear to you I’m going to kill 'em."

Of course, Pollard was speaking figuratively. But Reed’s penalty came on a hit after Emmanuel Sanders made a 20-yard catch in Ravens territory. Sanders was going toward the sideline, too, but he was still inbounds.

Pollard took aim at Commissioner Roger Goodell, who he contends has boxed himself into a corner with so many rules that don’t take into account such predicaments for defenders, or when an offensive player ducks his head to avoid contact and actually creates the helmet-to-helmet hits.

"You want bigger, faster, stronger, quicker guys every single year…but then you set up these rules that say, ‘We’re not going to allow that.’ You can’t do anything. You honestly can’t," Pollard said. "He knows and understands that he controls this. He has more power than is needed. I understand that it might be a tough position for him to be in at times but he signed up for it. He knew the potential problems he could face.

"We got to stand up as defensive players because we’re at a disadvantage from the get-go. …When they’re reacting and ducking their heads, you can’t blame us for that. There needs to be a fine line. … It needs to be another person’s decision to say, ‘That wasn’t an illegal hit.’ You’re putting doctors on the sideline, you got review officials and everything else."

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After breakout 2017 season, Ravens running back Alex Collins isn't getting too comfortable

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After breakout 2017 season, Ravens running back Alex Collins isn't getting too comfortable

This time last year, running back Alex Collins wasn't a part of the Baltimore Ravens.

After being released by the Seattle Seahawks at the end of the 2017 preseason, the Ravens placed the 23-year-old on their practice squad, and by Week 2, Collins was already making plays.

As the season progressed, Collins found himself as the Ravens' top running back. He finished 2017 as the team's leading rusher with 973 yards while Javorius "Buck" Allen followed behind him with 591 yards.

If the 2018 NFL season began today, Collins would likely be the Ravens' starter, which is quite ironic considering the fate of his 2017 preseason.

"I always go back to where I started and where I am now, and I use that as my motivation," Collins said after Thursday's training camp practice.

"No matter the day, no matter how tired I am, I think to myself, at this time last year, I didn’t know my position, where I was, where I’d end up. So just having that security behind it is definitely my motivation to keep it this way and keep pushing forward and keep trying to get better instead of being complacent.”

Over the course of 15 games, Collins proved he had the strength and speed to make an impact on the team after Danny Woodhead suffered a hamstring injury on the first drive of the Ravens' Week 1 game and Kenneth Dixon sat out the entire season with a torn meniscus. 

While job security is something we all strive for, Collins isn't getting too comfortable with the hierarchy. 

“I don’t want to say necessarily ‘comfortable,’ because when I use that word, it makes me feel like I’m too relaxed and lackadaisical," Collins said.

"I’m more focused. I don’t want to get comfortable. I don’t want the team or our group to get comfortable, because we just want to get better every day. So, in the position I am, it’s a great feeling, but I’m always pushing myself to be better.”

While Collins has set personal goals for himself – like a 1,000-yard season – he is equally as focused on making the Ravens backfield one of the best groups in the National Football League. 

“I expect that," Collins said on being the Ravens' starter.

"I would hope that all the other running backs expect [to be the starter] as well, and that’s what kind of drives our group – when we all know that we have that capability to be the No. 1 guy, and we’re out competing and push each other and try to be the best. No matter who’s out there during the game, you’ll see a productive play out of that person. So, I have that mindset. I want to be the guy. I have that fire in me, and I hope [that is] as well as the other running backs, as I encouraged them as well.”

Collins noted that he's coming into training camp a bit heavier. He added five pounds to his 200-pound frame "just to see how that feels," but is still maintaining the stamina and strength he's always had. 

Collins – who was one of several veterans released from practice early as the team begins to adjust their way into the extended preseason – finished his media availability with a friendly warning to fantasy football owners: "Draft me now before it’s too late, guys."


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Joe Flacco receives high praise from teammates after first training camp practice


Joe Flacco receives high praise from teammates after first training camp practice

Ravens football is back and so is Joe Cool.

The team’s first training camp practice took place Thursday afternoon, and Joe Flacco’s teammates – from offensive to defensive players – mentioned how laser focused the 10-year veteran is.

"Joe always has a lot of personality,” running back Alex Collins said via SB Nation’s Baltimore Beatdown.

“He is a good guy. He’s a real funny guy, but definitely coming into this year, he has a lot of fire behind him. And it does a lot motivating us especially early when we first reported back. Just seeing him work hard and just seeing him get better every day. He’s definitely got a lot of fire behind him this year.”

Flacco is entering the final year of his contract with a lot on the line following a disappointing start to the 2017 season. But a huge factor that is different for the 33-year old coming into this preseason opposed to last is his health.

“Most definitely,” Collins said on whether he can tell if Flacco is healthier this year. “He’s a lot faster as well, by the way, guys.”

And when it comes to the “Is Joe Flacco elite” debate, linebacker C.J. Mosley knows the consensus within the Under Armour Performance Center.

“I think every year [Joe Flacco] comes in with his mindset that he wants to be great,” Mosley said.

“Mainly because everybody outside of this building does not think he is elite and inside the building, everybody does think that way. Since Joe has been here, you know he is one of those players that never gets rattled. You never see his emotions too high, too low. He’s been our quarterback that kinda stays in the middle to make sure everything goes smooth. That’s kinda how he has been this offseason too. He’s come in looking strong, body looking good.”

Flacco’s health is up to speed as well as his mentality. Flacco organized private workouts with his wide receivers and tight ends at a local park across from the Ravens’ facility last week. This is the first time he has done so since 2011. When asked if he initiated the session, Michael Crabtree gave all the credit to his new quarterback.

“No, that’s all Flac [Flacco], man,” Crabtree said. “That’s the leader. We’re just the wideouts. [We] do whatever he says. If we’ve got something we bring to the table, then we make it work.”