It was no secret that fans were never a fan of the Bengals letting offensive line coach Frank Pollack walk before the 2019 season and then be replaced by Jim Turner. That move saw a drastic change in offensive line play, which is saying something because Pollack’s line in 2018 wasn’t great by any means, but there is hope that he can bring change that Turner just wasn’t getting.
You can sense the excitement among fans, players and media alike with this move, and it shows signs of this staff going in the right direction.
Players are pumped
Players will feel this change more than any of us watching the games. This is a guy they will see day in and day out, and it is a great sign when players are pumped to hear their former coach will be returning, Especially when one of those players is Joe Mixon who had one of his best seasons with Pollack’s offensive line leading the way.
Ahhhh!!!! Let’s go!!!! It’s A Great Day To Be A Bengal!!! #WhoDey— ⚡️Primetime!!!⚡️ (@Joe_MainMixon) January 9, 2021
Whispers “ Joe Mixon led the AFC in rushing under Pollack “— Malik Wright (@Wrightreportt) January 9, 2021
“Corey Glenn , Clint Boiling , Trey Hopkins , Westerman/Redmond & Bobby Hart were his blockers. “
Remember last year when Mixon scored and gave the ball to Pollack on the opposite sideline? Players wanted him back.— Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) January 9, 2021
“I am super excited for Coach Pollack to be back,” said Mixon. “He’s proven he’s the best in the business. There are a lot of records to be broken. I’m looking forward to getting back on the field and getting to work.” https://t.co/iv95VZJHgh— Lance McAlister (@LanceMcAlister) January 9, 2021
Mixon’s stats under Pollack were the best of his career averaging 4.9 yards per carry in 2018, so it is easy to see why he would be excited after getting a contract extension this offseason that will be highly scrutinized if he doesn’t perform. If he can return to that 2018 production, then it is hard to fault that contract, and everyone in Cincinnati will be happier for it.
Trey Hopkins also touched on how excited he is to practice under Pollack again. Hearing him talk about how intense those practices were makes you wonder what the past couple of seasons have been like. Either way, it seems like one player who has experienced both coaching styles is beyond excited for how this unit can improve by going back to Pollack, which is a great sign for some young players left in limbo with Jim Turner being let go.
Making some additions
It appears as though Pollack also may have some ideas on players he’d like to bring in to make turning this unit around a little easier. It wasn’t hard to see that there was a lack of talent at times along this line, and this team doesn’t really have time to try and overhaul the entire group through the draft. At the very least we should expect some changes, according to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com.
“There’ll be some changes. Some things will be the same. You don’t want to have change for change sake. Those guys have a lot of good stuff already in our offense. I’m sure there’ll be a couple of things I’d like to maybe add. Working with Zac, if he feels good about it and think it’s the right direction for us, that’s what we’ll do. Whatever we can do to make our offense better, that’s what we’ll do.”
The idea of the Bengals spending again this offseason has been debated this entire season. Some think this may be inevitable, and others think we were lucky to see them spend last offseason. If they do start throwing cash around again this offseason, the offensive line should be the first spot they start with. Adding some established veterans to that group to jumpstart their turnaround is exactly what it needs to get things up to snuff for Joe Burrow’s eventual return.
Not to mention this class of offensive tackles is an exceptional group that his led by Penei Sewell out of Oregon. Whether he falls to Cincinnati at the fifth overall pick or the team adds to the group with a midround selection, this team should be ending the draft with at least one offensive lineman drafted.
Who made the call?
Bringing back a coach that left right before Taylor came along as the head coach seemed like an unlikely move from an outsider’s perspective. Apparently, Pollack was pretty high on the Bengals’ list, but there has been speculation that the front office at least pushed Taylor in the right direction on this one.
The Bengals hiring back Frank Pollack tells me that the front office was heavily involved in this decision. Stats don’t lie.— Elise Jesse (@EliseJesseTV) January 9, 2021
Taylor being a young coach doesn’t have a ton of connections around the league, which could make searches like this one a little tougher. The team and Taylor have maintained through this process that he would be in charge of all coaching decisions, and replacing Turner with Pollack (or anybody) was a positive move. Whether the front office made Taylor make this move or merely suggested may never really be known to us outside of the building.