Mike Munchak wants Bernard Pollard to “play smarter”


Titans safety Bernard Pollard has never been shy about saying that he thinks the NFL’s rules governing hits that defensive players can make are ill-concieved and that he won’t change the way he plays in the face of them.

The league hasn’t been shy about fining him and officials haven’t been shy about flagging him, including on Saturday night when Pollard picked up his second personal foul of the preseason against the Falcons. Pollard’s response to that flag was exactly the one you’d expect.

“I can’t change the way I play football,” Pollard said, via John Glennon of the Tennessean. “These guys have never played, and they don’t understand how fast this game is. We’ve got a split second to make a decision, as far as how we’re making that tackle. I hit him in the shoulder pad and I barely grazed that.”

Titans coach Mike Munchak thought the unnecessary roughness call for a hit on Julio Jones was incorrect, but he also said he wants to see Pollard avoid situations that give officials an opportunity to throw a flag.

“We can’t have those,” Munchak said. “We have to be careful. Even if it’s close to being a call, especially on someone they know is aggressive … that probably adds something to it. It shouldn’t, but I’m sure it does. So he has to play smarter. There’s no way around that. You can’t have 15-yard penalties in this game. It’s hard enough to win as it is. We can’t help an offense by doing that.”

If playing smarter means taking more than a split second to make decisions on the field, the results might not wind up much better for the Titans because a delay in acting by Pollard could mean a missed tackle or a receiver who has time to hang onto a catch down the field. That’s secondary to the fact that the Titans knew what kind of player Pollard was when they signed him, however. For better or worse, that’s likely to be the player they get in 2013 and they should have looked elsewhere if they wanted something different.

32 responses to “Mike Munchak wants Bernard Pollard to “play smarter”

  1. Enjoy all those personal foul calls that give 15 yards to the other team, Tennessee. I’m glad this guy isn’t in Baltimore anymore.

  2. BP has played what, 4 total quarters this preseason? And already has two 15 yard personal foul penalties? Sounds about right. He’s a guy I absolutely want on my side if something is about to go down. That being said he’s a drive continuing 15 yard penalty waiting to happen. Add the to the fact that he’s been flagged and fined multiple times it’s only a matter of time before Czar Goodell drops the suspension hammer on him. Loved his tenacity in B-More but that doesn’t make up for his inability to cover and propensity for extending drives with penalties.

  3. It is not “split-second” decision making. He intends on making big hits more than making a tackle. Sometimes the ball-carrier can shift in a split-second but it should rarely be a problem. How hard is it to target the 3-4 feet between the thighs and the shoulders?

  4. Not happening. Pollard is the type of person that if he was in a maze instead of navigating it he’d demolish his way straight through it. If he had the ability to he’d most likely kick in doors rather than opening them.

    Pollard is essentially a living day trope of the kool-aid man. Want somebody to destroy everything? Get him! Want somebody to be a smart player? Don’t get him!

  5. The Chiefs Texans and Ravens all wanted him top play smarter too.

    The guy is a big physical safety that brings the hurt.

    He just has ZERO situational awareness and he regularly hurts his team because of it.

  6. Titans fans – Ravens feel your pain.

    It’s amazing how often a new team will convince itself that the evidence from a former team, which has a strong history of personnel evaluation, does not really count, and that a player is different than when he played for that former team.

  7. If you hit a player high you get a penalty and fined. If you try to hit a play in the strike zone and he ducks you get a penalty and fined. If you aim low all the players hate you. It really is a no win situation.

  8. The guy hits so hard that a lot of the times legal hits that he makes are so loud that the refs still flag him.

  9. And that’s why western civilization and their economies are failing, you just can’t ask them to be smarter. The definition of modern moves closer to the definition of moron everyday.

  10. It was okay when Rodney Harrison and Ronny Lott did it. The game was different but Pollard plays like they did. I like it but its flag football now, he has to change.

  11. Well Mike…you should have thought about that before you signed the guy. Why do you think he’s been on so many different teams? Expecting him to play smarter is like trying to drive a square peg into a round hole.

  12. getyourownname | Aug 26, 2013, 8:18 AM CDT
    It’s amazing how often a new team will convince itself that the evidence from a former team, which has a strong history of personnel evaluation, does not really count, and that a player is different than when he played for that former team.

    It’s not even about convincing themselves Pollard is not that guy. It’s about having such horribly uninspired safety play the last few years that they’re willing to live with Pollard’s downside because they desperately need guys who at least show some intensity when they’re committing bonehead penalties or letting receivers run around them.

    Pollard is STILL less frustrating to watch than Michael Griffin, who screws up royally (biting too hard on play action and giving up huge completions is his specialty) and then never shows any emotion or accountability.

    I hated the Pollard signing, and yet I still understand it.

  13. Ok…..I’m a Titans fan born and raised in Baltimore. I’ve seen the Titans that the league were afraid to play. Since the playoff loss to the Ravens and the loss of Coach Fisher. We are soft as cotton and need this menace on defense. I remember a certain hit on Mark Brunell from Samari Rolle that turned our season around after a 1-4 start. Again i could be wrong but He’s the closest we have to a fiery leadership on defense.

  14. “I can’t change the way I play football”, he says.

    Then he will be poor or out of the league. And this doesn’t take into account his big mouth questioning authority.

    Word has it that after the season, he got called into Asst. GM Eric DeCosta’s office, and DeCosta said it gave him great pleasure to tell Pollard that he was FIRED, and to get the hell out of his office. There is wearing out your welcome, and there is pissing off management si much they want to slam the door on you.

  15. Pretty stupid thing to say by Munchak. Pollard has been doing his thing for years now and been very visible doing it.

    If he wanted a “smarter” player…….they should have signed a different guy.

  16. Coach, you knew the history and what you were getting thus you picked your poison! Drink it! Close your eyes! Pinch your nose and open your mouth and swallow the headache you now have with BP!! Love his physicality, dislike his attitude and he will hurt your team with critical penalties but again, you knew this so don’t even bother to whine about him!

  17. ud1hens says:
    Aug 26, 2013 9:10 AM

    “He’s a guy I absolutely want on my side if something is about to go down”


    We all want a cheap shot artists in a corner…what a clown.

  18. I like the way he plays, but I am 43 and pretty old. I grew up in a different time. If he could get this thing figured out and aim a little lower each time he would be pretty solid. He still lacks speed but he scares the hell out of WR’s.

  19. People claiming that he will be out the league soon said the same thing about James Harrison. In short, guys like Pollard will always be in demand.

  20. Nothing would be better then to see this cheap shot artist laying on the ground, in the final preseason game, in agony and grabbing his knee. Payback can be a biotch but also satisfying.

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