Despite the Ravens' celebratory attitude at being 5-1, the fact remains that this defense has played like garbage. In two consecutive weeks, the defense has given up over 200 rushing yards, and the unit is ranked 26th overall in total yards allowed.
Listening to the Ravens celebrate these victories is embarrassing and disappointing for a fan. The Ravens should not be content with close victories over mediocre teams when they are capable of so much more.
At least one Raven is starting to get the picture.
Bernard Pollard hit the nail on the head in his discussion with the media today, saying on Baltimoreravens.com, "It's to a point now where we have to take a stand. Two weeks in a row, 200 freaking yards rushing... We got to play pissed off. We got to."
Pollard continued to call out himself and his teammates for a lack of execution and tackling in an interview that is a must watch.
On a team that so often casts an optimistic light on everything, hearing Pollard's anger and frustration is refreshing.
The Ravens have played without fire for most of the year. The defense in particular has missed tackles, failed to get off blocks and made crucial mental lapses. To hear many other Ravens explain it, this defense is among the best in the NFL.
Pollard took a different tact in his comments, and hopefully, the team listens to him. He knows that this team needs to improve on defense. The coverage needs to improve, the tackling needs to improve and the pass rush needs to improve. Saying the defense is already solid does a disservice to the team and the fans.
In the wake of injuries to Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb, the Ravens defense desperately needs leadership. Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata are legit superstars, but both are relatively quiet, choosing to lead by example.
No one would describe Pollard as quiet, meaning he could be the vocal leader this team has lacked so far this season. The opportunity is there for Pollard to step up as a team leader. He needs to grab it for this defense to improve.
Watch for Pollard to begin to assert himself as a team leader. He's seemingly the only one to grasp the dire circumstances facing this defense, making him an invaluable piece in that locker room.