Bengals fans rejoiced when news broke that Cincinnati was moving on from Jim Turner after the offensive line hit rock bottom the past two seasons. There was a chorus of praise when the team then went out and brought back Frank Pollack who was the team’s offensive line coach in 2018 when Joe Mixon led the AFC in rushing.
We as fans haven’t really gotten a chance to see the difference in play yet. However, offensive linemen have been excited about the return of Pollack to the coaching staff. The most recent player to speak publicly about it was Fred Johnson. He even notes that he has been following “The Pollack Way,” via Bengals.com Geoff Hobson.
“Technique, for sure. Technique has to be to a tee what Pollack wants. You try to do everything correct the first time. I say, ‘You do it right, you do it light. You do it wrong, you do it long.’
“Just the way the offensive line unit moves throughout the building, on the field, outside of the building, guys coming together to be a unit that is all together and not individuals. That just translates to on the field; you’ve got to play nasty, you’ve got to play with an attitude, you’ve got to have a certain swagger about you and that’s just what comes along with it.”
It is always good to hear that offensive linemen are excited that they have a guy making sure they are improving the little things about their game. It makes you wonder what they were dealing with when Turner was at the helm.
Johnson also hinted at the idea that he wanted to have more reps at guard so he could be even more versatile. He is just starting to get healthy again, and his return can’t come soon enough as the depth at tackle could really use him.
Hopefully Johnson and the other offensive linemen who have praised Pollack show that the product has improved due to all this work. The ultimate goal remains to be able to protect Joe Burrow no matter what. Johnson, who wasn’t even playing at the time of the injury, still takes that injury personally.
“I don’t think we have that taste out of our mouth at all. It still lingers,” Johnson said. “Joe still has the scar on his knee. I mean, I see it every day. I wasn’t even playing that day. It’s just something in the back of our minds. We can’t allow this to occur again. He’s putting a lot of trust in us, we have to have him, let him have his faith and confidence in this O-line.”
Here is hoping that Burrow has nothing to worry about in 2021.