The Cincinnati Bengals’ biggest weakness last season was their offensive line. That was no secret. Unfortunately, that weakness showed up in the worst possible moment, leading to Joe Burrow being hit on the final offensive play of the Super Bowl. Clips of the same play showing Ja’Marr Chase running free down the sideline were just salt in the wound.
This off-season, they made a strong push to keep Burrow on his feet, with his eyes downfield. While signing Alex Cappa and Ted Karras were strong moves, the signing of La’el Collins was met with the most fanfare. The offensive tackle position is becoming a premium spot on the offensive line with many teams working to place a premier pass rusher on both sides of the defensive line. It isn’t very often that an offensive tackle talked about among the best at his position hits the open market.
When speaking about expectations and their mindset going into the season, Collins’ comments will be music to Bengal fan’s ears.
“The mindset is to block for however long it takes. We don’t play to a play clock down here,” said Collins. “There’s a man in front of you and you have to shut him down. That’s my mindset and that’s the mindset of the unit. We’ve got to give Joe [Burrow] and every ball carrier the time that they need to do what they need to do. No matter how long that is, we’ve got to keep playing until the whistle blows.”
With Burrow’s fondness of extending plays and a trio of premium receivers who can work themselves open, Burrow being able to have more time to find them can make all the difference. Collins has clearly done his homework on Burrow, citing throws he has seen him make under duress.
“When you put the tape on you’ll see him making a lot of throws that he’s making with guys in his face, the pocket’s not clean and he’s still completing his passes,” Collins said. “It’s exciting, I can’t wait. A guy like that is going to get the ball out, just give him time.”
You can read the full article from Elise Jesse here and get thoughts from Frank Pollack and Jonah Williams on how the offensive line room is attacking off-season work and setting the tone for the “Glass Eater” mentality Pollack demands of them.