It’s Friday, 2 days until Super Bowl XLVII! Today, we have another defensive comparison, but with four people. Ravens’ Safeties Bernard Pollard and Ed Reed vs. 49ers’ Safeties Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson.
Bernard Pollard (Safety, Baltimore Ravens), Ed Reed (Safety, Baltimore Ravens), Dashon Goldson (Safety, San Francisco 49ers), and Donte Whitner (Safety, San Francisco 49ers) have all been great this season, both being on two of the best secondaries in the National Football League.
Let’s start off with Bernard Pollard. Pollard has had a lot of history with hard-hitting and injuring people. Of course, injuries aren’t a good thing, but it proves that you should be a little scared when you see him on the field. To the Patriots’ fans, Pollard is known as ‘The Patriot Killer’, since he has injured so many players on the Patriots. When he was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, he tore Patriots’ Quarterback Tom Brady’s ACL and MCL, ending his season. A year later, as a member of the Houston Texans, Pollard tore Patriots’ Wide Receiver Wes Welker’s ACL, ending his season. In the 2011 AFC Championship Game with the Ravens, he hurt Patriots’ Tight End Rob Gronkowski’s ankle, making him worthless in the Super Bowl. Last but not least, in the 2012 AFC Championship Game, he brutally hit Patriots’ Running Back Stevan Ridley, knocking him out of the game with a concussion. Pollard is known to be a hard hitter, and he wants everyone to realize that. In the 2012 regular season, Pollard had 98 combined tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 interception. In the postseason, he has had 15 combined tackles, and 1 forced fumble. Pollard isn’t a guy that you would want to mess with, and he’s made that perfectly clear over his 7-year career.
Ed Reed is a HUGE part of the Ravens’ defense, as well. He is a very scary guy to all quarterbacks, especially because of his 61 interceptions over his career. Ed Reed is a player that plays great some days, then awful others, but in the end, he is still one of the greatest safeties to ever play the game. This regular season, Reed had 58 combined tackles, 3 fumble recoveries, 4 interceptions, and 1 defensive touchdown. In the postseason, he has had 10 combined tackles and 2 deflected passes. Reed is a very special safety. In his 11 seasons in the NFL, he is a 9-time Pro Bowler, 8-time All-Pro, an AFC Champion, the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2004), AFC Defensive Player of the Year (2004), 2-time NFL Alumni Defensive Back of the Year, 3-time NFL interceptions leader, 2-time NFL Interception Return Yards Leader, and he has the longest interception return touchdown in NFL history (108 yards.)
Donte Whitner is one of the two main safeties that help complete the San Francisco 49ers secondary. Whitner had 83 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception, and 1 defensive touchdown in the regular season. In this postseason, Whitner has 6 combined tackles. Whitner is apart of a 49ers’ defense that dominated in the regular season, forcing turnovers and not letting opponents score, especially with the run game. Whitner’s 83 combined tackles was one of the highest totals in the league. In Whitner’s 7 year career, he has 1 Pro-Bowl selection (2012) and an NFC Championship.
Dashon Goldson is just as good of a safety as Whitner is, if not better. Goldson had 61 combined tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, and 3 interceptions in the regular season. In the postseason, he has 12 combined tackles and 1 forced fumble. In the NFC Championship against Atlanta, Goldson struggled. Julio Jones caught two touchdown passes over him, helping the Falcons jump out to a 17-0 lead. The 49ers were able to come back, with the 49ers defense able to tighten down and only letting Atlanta score 7 points in the second half. Goldson just had a bad game, and he normally plays with a ‘shut ‘em down’ attitude. Goldson has played 6 seasons in the NFL, He is a 2-time Pro Bowler, 1-time All-Pro (2012), and an NFC Champion.
Ed Reed is a free agent after this season, and the Ravens may not be able to re-sign him with their cap space issue. The Patriots have shown interest in him, and Reed has said that he wouldn’t mind playing for Bill Belichick, because he has respect for him and he thinks he is a great coach. There is also the possibility that Reed will retire if he wins the Super Bowl, to ride off into the sunset with Ray Lewis. Reed has said multiple times in the past week that he wasn’t going to retire if they won, but throughout this offseason and season, Reed has shown signs of wanting to be with his family and wanting to retire. We’ll just have to see what Reed’s decision will be after the Super Bowl.
All four of these safeties are terrific. Which pair would you rather have, Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard, or Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner?
~Victor Hensley (@Frezeal33)