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Frank Pollack Is Key to Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Line

Frank Pollack has been brought back to help the Cincinnati Bengals offensive line to improve over last year's disastrous outing.
Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Line

The Cincinnati Bengals offensive line struggled to run the ball and to protect Joe Burrow in 2020. Former offensive line coach Jim Turner was an unmitigated disaster from the beginning. Burrow took 32 sacks (tied for second-most) and 42 quarterback hits (tied for fifth-most) over the first 11 weeks of the season. Pro Football Focus had the unit ranked 30th last year and the need to improve was evident. Enter familiar face in Frank Pollack who the team brought back to overhaul the offensive line and run game moving forward.

Frank Pollack Is Key to Success of the Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Line

Pollack spent the 2018 season with the Bengals and was instrumental in Joe Mixon leading the AFC in rushing. Mixon and the 2018 offensive line instantly clicked with Pollack. This ability to relate and teach players is huge in today’s NFL. Pollack played in the league for six seasons and won a Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers. Left tackle Jonah Williams noted, “He brings a lot of energy to practice. He played in the NFL. He kind of carries himself like an ex-NFL player, so we all buy in to what he’s saying and that energy is definitely contagious. I think that’s going to be huge for us.” Pollack also has several new faces to work with including Riley Reiff and draft picks Jackson Carman, D’Ante Smith, and Trey Hill. This group should greatly bolster the depth of the offensive line that was sorely lacking in 2020.

New Teacher in Town

Pollack differs greatly from his predecessor in the way he teaches techniques to his players. He is a high-energy boisterous personality who isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Being a former player also helps with trusting what a coach says. Pollack wants to bring out each player’s physical gifts so on gameday they can play free, fast, and unburdened. His most important tenant is simple, “Make the defense adjust to us with an attacking style.”

Rebuilding an offensive line can be an arduous process for most teams. The Bengals, unfortunately, can’t afford for such a rebuild to take too long. In fact, the Bengals are banking on the wide zone scheme of Pollack providing immediate benefits. One of the biggest supporters of this scheme might be Burrow. The Bengals offense is heavily predicated on 11-personnel and play action. This scheme lends itself to also opening up wide passing lanes that can protect Burrow early in the season.

Help Wanted

The two most important players for the Bengals are both coming back from significant injuries in Mixon and Burrow.  The team understands how they are intertwined in the long-term success of the franchise. Pollack has a tall task in front of him to help revitalize the running game, offensive line, and in giving Burrow clean pockets and platforms to throw from. The front office is pinning their hopes on the ability of Pollack to get the most out of his group starting September 12th. The success of the season and Burrow’s future may depend on it. Hope sometimes springs eternal.

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