The Bengals will be changing up their offensive line coach for the first time in 24 seasons. The team has moved on from Paul Alexander by hiring one of the most respected offensive line coaches in the NFL in Frank Pollack.
What makes Pollack special as an offensive line coach is the multiple influences he has had on his career that have led him to this point, and how he has fused them all into his own style of coaching. He also brings experience in evaluating linemen, which will be invaluable as this team will have to reconstruct that unit.
Pollack was an offensive tackle for the 49ers for eight years. He even won a Super Bowl with the team. He played under Bobb McKittrick who coached all five of the Super Bowls for the 49ers. McKittrick joined the 49ers with Bill Walsh and was there during the instillation of the revolutionary West Coast offense.
Following his playing career, Pollack got his first NFL job with the Texans and Gary Kubiak. There, he learned the wide zone run scheme. He also worked with Bengals offensive tackle (and then Texans OT) Eric Winston who told Geoff Hobson of the Bengals official site this:
“He’s a very capable guy. A smart guy. He’s a steady hand. He brings a great blend as a player and a coach,” Winston said. “He knows what it’s supposed to look like. I think he’s got all the pre-requisites to be successful in Cincinnati and he can bring kind of a new perspective with fresh eyes.”
Pollack then went to work under Bill Callahan in Dallas as an assistant offensive line coach, where he not only learned from Callahan, but also added some of what he learned in Houston. That made it an easy decision in 2015 when Callahan moved on from the Cowboys, for the team to promote Pollack where he enjoyed several years of success.
Now Pollack gets a chance to work with Jim McNally, the man who taught Callahan. McNally is a consultant for the Bengals and the team’s former offensive line coach prior to Alexander joining the team.
“Bill Callahan comes from the McNally tree and he’s a legendary line coach here as well,” Pollack said. “I worked under Bill and Bill learned things from (McNally). I know him. He’s absolutely a great resource.”
With all of this experience at his disposal there is one thing we should expect from the offensive line next season, and that is a little bit of everything. That is what brought Pollack success in Dallas. Sure he was working with more talent, but he will also be a great resource in bringing in more talent.
“He’s been exposed to good players. He knows what good players look like,” McNally said of Pollack. “He’s been taught by Bill Callahan and I’ve worked a lot with him and have got a lot of respect for Bill Callahan.”
That will be huge considering how badly the Bengals missed with Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher. Although, I’m sure Pollack will first be tasked with deciding if those players can be salvaged.
The multiple looks in the running game will be huge though. It also gives real hope that something will change offensively from last season. The Bengals had one of the worst rushing attacks last year—and the worst run game in the team’s 50 year history—and most of that can be traced to the poor play from the line and the scheme in general. The team finally started hitting its stride late in the season when Clint Boling moved to left tackle, and the team started running out of the shotgun more.
Pollack fits the whole versatile theme the Bengals are going with this offseason, but we will have to see just how it comes together in 2018.