clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Joe Burrow’s injury should force the Bengals to change

The franchise that has been complacent about the o-line for decades now must appear to care.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Football Team Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In the sea of ineptitude that engulfs the Cincinnati Bengals, it’s somewhat hard to fish out the biggest problems.

With the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills winning playoff games, the Bengals’ postseason struggles are becoming even more pronounced. And there’s been failure just about everywhere.

However, the front office’s neglect of the offensive line deserves special attention.

Mike Brown, the CEO of the team (by that I mean, the Cheapskate Executive Officer), tried to get Paul Alexander to do the scouting and evaluation for decades. That worked for a while, but it certainly didn’t end well. Brown let Andrew Whitworth go because he believed his play was going to decline (even though Whitworth showed no signs of that whatsoever) and he thought he could just replace him with cheaper and younger options in the NFL draft. Even worse was the case of Kevin Zeitler, who wasn’t even old. He just played the wrong position to get paid in Brown’s eyes.

And honestly, I personally think Jim Turner would’ve gotten another year if not for the tragedy that befell the team in the form of a gruesome injury to already Cincinnati legend Joe Burrow. The rookie franchise QB may have just been the sacrifice that fans needed.

Yes, Frank Pollack has personal ties to Zac Taylor through Brian Callahan and his father, Bill. And yes, he had relative success in his one-year stint in 2018. But it was Taylor who let him walk for Turner. And now it was Taylor who swallowed his pride and agreed to bring Pollack back after being left with no choice due to pressure from players and management.

But here’s the thing—we don’t think they’re done. As Sheeran wrote, the Bengals absolutely must spend in free agency to complete the revival of the line. Again, had Burrow stayed upright and healthy, I imagine the team would’ve fed us the same nonsense about what we were missing on tape and then drafted a couple of lesser prospects and hoped younger guys would just magically turn into Pro Bowlers. But Brown and Co. know they can’t run from spending this time around.

Like we point out in the video below, the Bengals have a pattern of spending only when forced to do so. Last year, the defense was so atrocious that the Brown family decided to splurge on players like D.J. Reader and Trae Waynes. This year, it’s finally the o-line’s turn.

In further support of this is the fact that, as a number of analysts have pointed out, teams that use wide zone concepts, like Pollack’s, generally spend heavily on linemen in free agency. So bringing him back is likely an indicator of another offseason of drawing from the old money bin.

You can watch our takes on the addition of Pollack in the video below:

You can also listen on iTunes or using the player below: