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Mr. Laz
05-02-2005, 11:17 AM
Pollack feels out of place as linebacker
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JOE KAY / Associated Press
Posted: 1 day ago

CINCINNATI (AP) - David Pollack walked off the Cincinnati Bengals' field with a broad smile, pleased with how he finished his first day as a linebacker-in-training.

A few steps later, the look of contentment was gone, replaced by flat-out embarrassment.

His wet cleats slipped on the concrete stadium floor, taking him down the way he used to take down quarterbacks at Georgia. He grabbed for close friend Odell Thurman as he fell, and took him down, too.

Fortunately, the only thing that Pollack hurt was his pride - more than once.

The 17th overall pick in the NFL draft took his first steps Friday in a major transformation. The defensive lineman from Georgia is moving to outside linebacker in the pros, a position he has never played.

"I felt like a dog chasing a car," Pollack said. "I didn't do anything this morning that I did in college - ever."

In four years at Georgia, Pollack lined up at defensive tackle and end. He still had an end's number - 99 - and mentality when he arrived for the Bengals' rookie minicamp, two things he needs to change.

"I'd rather have a number in the 50s to look like a linebacker, because I am a linebacker now," he said. "Yesterday we had to stand up, tell our position, the university you went to and your hometown. I stood up and went, 'David Pollack, defensive ... uh, linebacker, University of Georgia.' I had to catch myself."

His assignment is to catch on quickly. Pollack didn't think it would be smooth, but had no idea it would be as tough as it turned out on his first day.

He got his playbook and studied the X's and O's on Thursday night with Thurman, a Georgia teammate who has played middle linebacker his entire career. Pollack saw where the X lined up on paper and envisioned himself there on the field.

Unfortunately, the visualization didn't work so well. When the rookies practiced lining up during a light workout on Friday morning, Pollack kept forgetting where he was supposed to be. It bothered him.

"This morning, I felt like I was starting football all over again," Pollack said. "I felt really awkward.

"I want to be good, and I'm not good yet. I've got to start over. I didn't know where to get into position. I was frustrated because I felt it was my responsibility to know that. But I can look at the playbook all night and it seems like it doesn't soak in necessarily until I do it."

"This morning, I think he was a little frustrated," said Thurman, Pollack's roommate for the weekend. "Then, it started to click. He's catching on real fast. I knew that was going to happen."

So far, Pollack has been more demanding than the coaches, who expect a break-in period. The main thing they're looking for is progress from one practice to another.

"When you're playing something totally different, I think they'll understand," Pollack said. "I think they'll have patience with me for a little while. But that patience will wear out if I keep messing up. The important thing for me is I've got to learn not to do the same thing (wrong) over and over. I think that's the one thing coaches can't stand."

Rain Man
05-02-2005, 11:18 AM
I don't think that's a good move.

jspchief
05-02-2005, 11:20 AM
Hmmm...I won't name names, but a I clearly remember some self-important a-hole blasting me because I said Pollack was a tweener and they said he was a "pure" DE.

Mr. Laz
05-02-2005, 11:22 AM
Hmmm...I won't name names, but a I clearly remember some self-important a-hole blasting me because I said Pollack was a tweener and they said he was a "pure" DE.
i was also blasted for saying something similiar to that

TRR
05-02-2005, 11:24 AM
This is exactly the reason I didn't want Thomas Davis. Their first season or two at a new position is like re-learning the game. We would have had Davis move to LB, and he would have struggled the entire season IMO.

DJ is a true OLB.

jspchief
05-02-2005, 11:26 AM
This is exactly the reason I didn't want Thomas Davis. Their first season or two at a new position is like re-learning the game. We would have had Davis move to LB, and he would have struggled the entire season IMO.

DJ is a true OLB.Davis played more snaps at LB in college than Safety.

Phobia
05-02-2005, 11:28 AM
Hmmm...I won't name names, but a I clearly remember some self-important a-hole blasting me because I said Pollack was a tweener and they said he was a "pure" DE.

That was probably me. I don't remember saying that, but I answer to "self-important a-hole" sometimes.

jspchief
05-02-2005, 11:31 AM
That was probably me. I don't remember saying that, but I answer to "self-important a-hole" sometimes.Don't be so hard on yourself. I've never considered you self-important.

morphius
05-02-2005, 11:33 AM
Davis played more snaps at LB in college than Safety.
I would also think that a safety to LB switch is a lot easier then a down lineman to a standing LB spot.

TRR
05-02-2005, 11:33 AM
Davis played more snaps at LB in college than Safety.

Reading his profile, it says he only saw spot duty at OLB, moving to safety in 2003 because of injuries, and playing the entire season at safety in 2004.

TRR
05-02-2005, 11:34 AM
I would also think that a safety to LB switch is a lot easier then a down lineman to a standing LB spot.

You would also think a move to CB from safety would be just as easy, but players continue to struggle with it every season.

I wanted the more complete LB. Safety wasn't a need. Many experts agree that Davis would be a better safety at the NFL level. Only time will tell.

nascher
05-02-2005, 11:38 AM
who cares we now have the best pure lb in college the last years.

Maybe they could convert him to Safety :)

royr17
05-02-2005, 11:44 AM
I saw this move coming, he doesnt have the size for DE in the Pros.

morphius
05-02-2005, 11:48 AM
You would also think a move to CB from safety would be just as easy, but players continue to struggle with it every season.

I wanted the more complete LB. Safety wasn't a need. Many experts agree that Davis would be a better safety at the NFL level. Only time will tell.
Actually, no I wouldn't expect that at all. I would think that would be nearly equivlant to the DE to LB, only worse. A Safety and a LB both have similar duties a lot of the time, both are standing up, facing the game from a similar spot on the field, both blitz, both cover TE's out of the backfield, both come up in run support, etc, etc. A CB needs to be able to turn around and play chase, a safety has to worry more about the angle of attack.

B_Ambuehl
05-02-2005, 11:50 AM
On paper you wouldn't think Dwight Freeney, who is smaller then Pollack, has the size for DE end either.

Yet another illustration of how the Bengals manage to screw themselves over year in and year out.

Chiefnj
05-02-2005, 11:51 AM
I still say he would have been the best DE on the Chiefs.

According to his coach he's picking up LB pretty quickly:



EXPERIMENT WORKING: Let it be known that No. 1 pick David Pollack came up with his first interception as an NFL outside linebacker Saturday as he chased the tight end across the field and made a play on the ball.

Then on Sunday he got the Marvin Lewis stamp of approval in his move from defensive end to outside linebacker: "He's further ahead than any guy I've ever had playing that spot," said Lewis, who oversaw a Pro Bowler named Peter Boulware make the switch. "I don't see that being an issue."

Pollack is taking it a step at a time because defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan has told him to. And because he has no choice as he tries to grasp the Xs and Os.

A lot more complicated, but I like the challenge, Pollack said of a pro playbook. Im feeling better every day with it. Im getting used to it.

Bresnahan is trying to make sure he and his coaches dont hurry Pollack along. But he has been extremely encouraged by what Pollack did in space at this camp.

He had two pass breakups before the interception, Bresnahan said. Hes got a long way to go, but he gets better every day. Hes better in everything were teaching him. Hes a coachable guy. Hes making progress. With a guy who has played the position before, you might go a little faster. We have to make sure we go from A to B to C and not A to E to M to R, but thats good because everyone can learn from that.

Lewis clearly loves this guy's versatility, and indicated that if he had coached him in college, he wouldn't have played Pollack at end. Asked where he would have played him, Lewis responded with a question of his own.

"Where was Bill Belichick going to play him?" he asked.

When the inquisitor admitted ignorance to the plans of the Patriots head coach, Lewis said, "Middle linebacker."

royr17
05-02-2005, 11:52 AM
Pollack is only 6 foot 2, 261 lbs, Dwight Freeney is 6'1 267 and run like a 4.55, so Freeney would cause problems cause he is so quick off of the snap.

TRR
05-02-2005, 11:52 AM
Actually, no I wouldn't expect that at all. I would think that would be nearly equivlant to the DE to LB, only worse. A Safety and a LB both have similar duties a lot of the time, both are standing up, facing the game from a similar spot on the field, both blitz, both cover TE's out of the backfield, both come up in run support, etc, etc. A CB needs to be able to turn around and play chase, a safety has to worry more about the angle of attack.

It depends what type of Safety your talking about. Strong safety or free safety. Either way you look at it, I don't like players having to switch positions their rookie season. Davis played most of his college career at safety according to his profile.

morphius
05-02-2005, 11:58 AM
It depends what type of Safety your talking about. Strong safety or free safety. Either way you look at it, I don't like players having to switch positions their rookie season. Davis played most of his college career at safety according to his profile.
I'm generally not a big fan of it either, but I figure some of the moves are easier then others.

htismaqe
05-02-2005, 12:21 PM
Pollack is only 6 foot 2, 261 lbs, Dwight Freeney is 6'1 267 and run like a 4.55, so Freeney would cause problems cause he is so quick off of the snap.

40 times have NOTHING at all to do with being quick off the snap.

Chiefnj
05-02-2005, 12:23 PM
Pollack is only 6 foot 2, 261 lbs, Dwight Freeney is 6'1 267 and run like a 4.55, so Freeney would cause problems cause he is so quick off of the snap.

Not to belabor a moot argument, but Pollack was 266 at the combine and had a faster short shuttle and 3 cone than DJ and all DL.

The Chiefs play the Bengals in the final regular season game. They'll get a look at Pollack and O'dell.

htismaqe
05-02-2005, 12:25 PM
Hmmm...I won't name names, but a I clearly remember some self-important a-hole blasting me because I said Pollack was a tweener and they said he was a "pure" DE.

Go ahead and name names, I can take it.

Just because a guy is small doesn't mean he's a tweener. Is Zack Thomas a LB/S tweener?

Being a tweener is about both size/speed AND skills. Shawn Merriman is a tweener because he can play from his feet as well as in a 3-point.

Pollack IS a pure DE. Moving him to OLB may be the best move for the Bungles, considering what they've spent on DE in the last few years. But that doesn't mean that's what's best for Pollack.

nascher
05-02-2005, 12:50 PM
face it converting a guy like Pollack who never played OLB/LB is a big project !!!

Question are the Bungels going with a 3-4 this Season ???

Wallcrawler
05-02-2005, 01:10 PM
Who knows what they are thinking.

I really dont like drafting a guy at one position, that he has played most of, if not all of his career at, and then making him try to play another position where he has to start from scratch.

The NFL is not the place you want to be if youre trying to learn your position from scratch. College players who have played their entire collegiate career at one position have a tough enough time just making the transition to the pro game even while being familiar with their position.

I cant imagine how frustrating that has to be.

Yeah, youre projected as a first round defensive end, because you played well at that position in college.

The team drafts you, and then says "Hey guess what? We dont really need you at defensive end, we want you at linebacker."

Personally, I think it would suck ass. Its really unfair to Pollack as well, especially if he didnt want to switch from playing DE.

If it happened to me, Id probably be of the mindset to tell the damn coach "If you didnt need me at defensive end, why the F did you draft me then? Im a DEFENSIVE END."

I could see it maybe if he was just stinking up the joint playing defensive end, and they wanted to try him out elsewhere to see if he couldnt play better.

I just dont see how that is something they think is a good move, taking a guy away from what he has been doing his whole college career, and throwing him into a position he knows nothing about, in this league where every single player has a high talent level, whereas in college not everyone is as talented from game to game.

But I guess thats why I watch football on TV. Or maybe its because Ive watched the Chiefs fail at so many conversion attempts. Im of the mindset that if you need a linebacker, draft a linebacker. If you need a DE, draft a DE. Dont be screwing around, and making these guys try to be something that they have never been.

KChiefs1
05-02-2005, 01:25 PM
"This morning, I felt like I was starting football all over again," Pollack said. "I felt really awkward.

"I want to be good, and I'm not good yet. I've got to start over. I didn't know where to get into position. I was frustrated because I felt it was my responsibility to know that. But I can look at the playbook all night and it seems like it doesn't soak in necessarily until I do it."

Just confirms my thoughts about moving players...I'm damn glad DJ is a Chief! :clap:

Spicy McHaggis
05-02-2005, 02:09 PM
Pollack is only 6 foot 2, 261 lbs, Dwight Freeney is 6'1 267 and run like a 4.55, so Freeney would cause problems cause he is so quick off of the snap.

I watched Georgia play last year. Pollack is very explosive off the snap and has jaw dropping quickness for his size. That said I have no idea why the Bengals are taking a guy that could become elite at his natural position and switching him to LB. Are the Bengals going to a 3-4? That's the only way this makes sense. Guys like Suggs, Babin, Brayton fit fine as an OLB in a 3-4 but they're square pegs in a round hole in a 4-3.

buddha
05-02-2005, 02:26 PM
This is exactly the reason I didn't want Thomas Davis. Their first season or two at a new position is like re-learning the game. We would have had Davis move to LB, and he would have struggled the entire season IMO.

DJ is a true OLB.

Thank you TRR. I couldn't have said it better myself. Sometimes the tweener finds a spot where he can thrive, but more often than not, they don't. I didn't want Davis for that very reason. DJ was such a better choice, IMHO.

nascher
05-02-2005, 02:33 PM
Better Choice we had no choice :)

Luck !!! :)

Pollack as 3-4 OLB should work but in a 4-3 it's a bit strange.

Brock
05-02-2005, 02:35 PM
He'll probably be a better player at LB than he was at DE, IMO.

htismaqe
05-02-2005, 03:01 PM
He'll probably be a better player at LB than he was at DE, IMO.

He was the best defensive player in the country last season at any position, let alone at his position.

It's gonna be awfully hard for him to be "better" than that.

Brock
05-02-2005, 03:41 PM
He was the best defensive player in the country last season at any position, let alone at his position.

It's gonna be awfully hard for him to be "better" than that.

It depends... If he turns into an All Pro at LB, I'd say that is better than some meaningless college accolade.

htismaqe
05-02-2005, 04:14 PM
It depends... If he turns into an All Pro at LB, I'd say that is better than some meaningless college accolade.

Sure.

By the same token, though, becoming an All Pro at LB doesn't automatically prove that he would have failed as a DE.

Saulbadguy
05-02-2005, 04:18 PM
Thats great and all, but he still would probably put a screen door on a submarine.

shaneo69
05-03-2005, 01:21 PM
Lewis clearly loves this guy's versatility, and indicated that if he had coached him in college, he wouldn't have played Pollack at end. Asked where he would have played him, Lewis responded with a question of his own.

"Where was Bill Belichick going to play him?" he asked.

When the inquisitor admitted ignorance to the plans of the Patriots head coach, Lewis said, "Middle linebacker."

Yeah, we get it, Marv. He's gonna be another Bruschi: stud college D-lineman converted to pro MLB. What Marv doesn't remember is that Bruschi was a 3rd round pick and didn't become a full-time starter until his 4th year in the league. You don't have that much time to waste on the conversion process for a 1st round pick.

B_Ambuehl
05-03-2005, 02:03 PM
I watched Georgia play last year. Pollack is very explosive off the snap and has jaw dropping quickness for his size. That said I have no idea why the Bengals are taking a guy that could become elite at his natural position and switching him to LB.

Exactly right. He ran a 3.8 short shuttle which is unheard of for a defensive end. Dominated the toughest conference in college football like no other defensive lineman. There are the Bengals and then there's everyone else.

the Talking Can
05-03-2005, 02:28 PM
damn, I wanted him but not as a LB....he's going to get worked bad in pass coverage, for awhile at least

thank god we got a pure LB