Texans safety Pollard looks for more

HOUSTON After that breakout performance, he's eager to see what he can do this year during a full season with the team.

"Oh yes, definitely," he said with a laugh. "I'm definitely excited about that, but I just try to stay focused on everything we have to do. I just try to be a leader."

Pollard was released by the Chiefs before last season despite starting all but one game the previous two years. The Texans picked him up in late September after losing some players to injuries.

His career-high 102 tackles were tied for the eighth most by a defensive back in the NFL, he had four interceptions, including one he returned 70 yards for a touchdown, and he forced a fumble.

He was credited with helping turn around a defense that struggled through the first three games. Houston allowed an average of 205 yards rushing through Week 3, but rebounded with the aid of Pollard to finish in a tie for 10th fewest yards rushing allowed a game with just under 107.

The normally boisterous Pollard got quiet and seemed uncomfortable when asked about the credit he has received for turning around the defense.

"I didn't turn anything around," he said. "I think everybody got seasoned and bought in to what we were doing. I was just a piece of the puzzle. One man don't make a team, but I think there are things I added to the team."

Coach Gary Kubiak liked the swagger Pollard brought to the unit and hopes his intensity keeps rubbing off on his teammates in 2010.

"He obviously came in and added kind of an attitude to our defense in a lot of ways, with the way he plays the game," Kubiak said. "Bernard has a lot of fun, likes to talk in practice and stuff, but he does his job ... he handles his stuff and works very hard."

Pollard is just 25, but his four years of NFL experience make him one of the most seasoned players expected to start in the secondary and has pushed him into the role of leader. The Texans could start rookie first-round pick Kareem Jackson at left cornerback and second-year player Glover Quin on the right after veteran Dunta Robinson left in free agency.

"Everybody is working hard and somebody's got some shoes to fill with Dunta being gone," Pollard said. "The rookie (Jackson) is learning, but I think he's going to be a really, really good player once he gets everything down."

Kubiak is counting on Pollard to help the young players develop.

"Those guys look to him," Kubiak said. "He knows what's going on. He's played for (former Chiefs and current Texans secondary coach) David (Gibbs) before, and he kind of sets the tone for what we're doing back there."

Pollard believes the defense has something to prove this year after the Texans came up just short of making the playoffs last season. He's also looking to improve personally this season to prove the Chiefs were wrong to release him.

"Obviously that's one of the chips on my shoulder that's added to the other ones," Pollard said referring to his release. "So I have a bag full of chips. It was just an opportunity for me. That door was closed and this door opened. When I step on the field I'm obviously trying to get some frustration off."

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