National writers are making their tour through training camps and this past Wednesday it was Peter King from Sports Illustrated visiting River Falls. And according to King’s MMQB column, Bernard Pollard came eerily close to a repeat of the play that gave Matt Cassel his chance to play last year in New England.
It’s midway through Kansas City’s first of two daily practices and Matt Cassel fades back to pass. QBs in training camp are not supposed to be hit in camp, but in this drill, with Cassel setting up in the pocket, safety Bernard Pollard comes on a blitz.
What makes the play even more amazing is that Tom Brady got hit last year when a back missed a block on the onrushing Pollard. And as I’m watching, I can’t believe what I see: Again, a back throws an ¡Ole!block, and precisely the same thing that happened a year ago happens now: Pollard thought he was going to be blocked by a running back last year against New England, got low to take on the block, wasn’t blocked, and fell into Brady. Now, he thought he was going to be blocked by a running back, got low, wasn’t blocked, and stumbled and tried to avoid hitting Cassel, yelling at the last moment, “Move!” It was too late. He fell hard and rolled into Cassel’s left leg.
Pollard was able to put on the brakes enough so that he only tapped Cassel’s left leg. Cassel flexed it a couple of times and was fine. A couple of his offensive mates hustled in to defend him against Pollard. Words were exchanged, but that was it. No harm, no foul.
“Pretty weird,” a smiling Cassel told me an hour later. “Yeah, I realized it.”
I caught Pollard after lunch on campus. His eyes got wide when I asked him about the play. “I got to the sidelines after that play,” Pollard said, “and I realized what happened, and I thought, — OH MY GOD! It’s like a replay.”
Can you even imagine? Pollard, the man that gave Cassel the chance to be the $63 million dollar man, knocks him out for the season. I don’t even know how the place would react. Clearly someone on the offense would have knocked Pollard into next week since there were words for him simply rolling up next to him. But where would you even go from there? Do you have to cut the safety immediately? Normally you’d chalk it up to it just being football, but during what is supposed to be non-contact time for quarterbacks, it’s hard to take that position.
All I have to say is… WHEW! Oh, and… Stay on your feet Bernard.