The Cincinnati Bengals desperately needed a change for their offensive line this past offseason, and they found it by bringing back Frank Pollack.
However, despite their improved play this season, the Bengals line has still been a major talking point over the last few weeks. That was especially true after the Tennessee Titans’ front, led by Jeffery Simmons, sacked second-year quarterback Joe Burrow nine times, even though the Bengals won and advanced to the AFC Championship Game.
That following week, the Bengals held a stout Kansas City Chiefs front to just one sack in a game that went into overtime while facing All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones and star pass-rusher Melvin Ingram.
Even so, it’s a group that many expect to get bullied on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.
Pollack isn’t buying the narrative.
“The narrative is the narrative. I could (not) care less,” Pollack stated during his Tuesday meeting with media. I don’t get caught up in all that stuff. That’s a nice story for you guys and the fans to worry about.
“Not for us.”
The Bengals suffered a huge blow when veteran Riley Reiff went down for the season. Isaiah Prince has been his replacement and has struggled to keep up. Although it hasn’t been pretty, Pollack believes in his group.
“They’ve been resilient throughout the year when they’ve needed to be their best,” Pollack said.
In an interview with Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson, Pollack recounted a quote from legendary basketball coach John Wooden that applies to the Bengals offensive line. Wooden won 10 national championships at UCLA, where the Bengals are staying this week.
“John Wooden had the greatest quote of all-time about the pyramid of success,” Pollack said. “Atop the pyramid is competitive greatness. And that is defined as being your best when your best is needed. Our guys have been at their best when their best was absolutely needed.
“At the end of the Tennessee game, in the final drive the pass protection was flawless. In overtime in Kansas City, it was real exciting to see our guys take over the trenches and run the ball. And let Joe Mixon carry the rock downhill and get close for the field goal. That was exciting.”
With Leonard Floyd, Aaron Donald and Von Miller coming at them on Sunday, there will certainly be a stigma about the line. Can they keep up with that dynamic trio?
At the end of the day, the success of the line will play a huge part in determining the winner.