While looking over the Chiefs’ Madden 2010 ratings, I began to ponder an interesting question: “Is Bernard Pollard the Chiefs’ best player?” After thinking it over for a little while, it’s hard for me not to answer that question with a pretty firm “yes.” Even though the Madden folks do their homework, Pollard’s score of 88 (tied for second) has nothing to do with it. After reflecting on last season and reevaluating the numbers, it’s my assessment that he comes into the 2009 season as our best player.
Brian Waters may have made the Pro Bowl last year, but that was a name selection. His best years are behind him, and he was fortunate enough to play in a spread offense for most of the year alongside a future stud left tackle.
Speaking of that LT, Branden Albert was impressive, but he got hurt and still allowed some sacks in an offense designed not to give them up.
Larry Johnson? If it wasn’t for the Madden folks giving him an 88, he wouldn’t even be in this conversation.
Dwayne Bowe needs to catch the ball more consistently before he’s the man in Kansas City.
Matt Cassel has never thrown a pass as a Chief, and still needs to prove he’s not a one-year wonder. I’m not saying he can’t, by the way.
The other two Brandons — Carr and Flowers — are good corners, but there were times last year wher you could tell both players were rookies.
Derrick Johnson? Glenn Dorsey? Jarrad Page? Now we’re just wasting time.
The Bonecrusher had the best season of any Chiefs player last year hands down. Pollard was pretty good in pass coverage, despite playing in a secondary with two rookie corners and behind a front seven that generated the lowest team sack total in NFL history. He also led the team in tackles, posting over 90 for the second year in a row (98). He seemed to be involved in almost every forced turnover, as he picked off a pass, forced two fumbles and recovered three fumbles. The latter was good for fourth in the NFL. Additionally, he was often both our surest and hardest tackler. Most importantly, he seemed to be our defensive leader vocally, and was one of the few Chiefs I never saw quit.
The last time the Chiefs’ best player was a strong safety was when No. 20, Deron Cherry, roamed from sideline to sideline snatching interceptions. That being said, I think our best player is a strong safety once again. Pollard may be a different kind of safety than Cherry, but that doesn’t make him any less of a player.
Just look at Adrian Wilson, who was coached by Clancy Pendergast in Arizona, for example. Wilson is widely considered as one of the best safeties in football. He even made the Pro Bowl last year. Now, look at his numbers: 74 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Call me crazy, but Pollard had better numbers despite playing on a defense with considerably less talent than the Cardinals’ unit. With Gunther Cunningham gone and Pendergast using Pollard like Wilson (run suppport, blitzing), I expect big No. 49 to finally garner Wilson-like acclaim. B.P. might not be as tall or athletic as Wilson, but he’s bulkier, meaner, stronger, and has a great motor along with one of the best noses for the football I have ever seen.
To the rest of the league, Pollard’s currently only known as the player who took Tom Brady out last year. That’s about to change. The Bonecrusher is about to have his coming out party, and as the Chiefs’ best player he will deserve to finally be recognized as one of the best safeties in the NFL. Plus, who else in the league can get down like this?