Something’s gotta change when it comes to Cincinnati Bengals left guard Cordell Volson.
Volson came into the league as a feel-good story — a giant of a man from a small Division 1A school in Fargo, North Dakota — making it to the big time. He came in with a reputation as a skilled run-blocker who needed lots of work as a pass protector.
No problem, right? The Bengals had one of the top offensive line coaches in the game. Or did they?
Through the early part of last season, it looked like Cincinnati had struck gold. Through nine weeks, Volson was the NFL’s best rookie offensive lineman in true pass sets with a PFF grade of 73.4. He owned a pass-blocking efficiency grade of 97.3. Volson finished the season with an overall grade of 56.5, and hopes ran high for his second season in the orange and black.
Orlando Brown Jr., the Bengals’ prized acquisition at left tackle, certainly liked what he saw.
“He’s got that Pro Bowl potential with his size and mental makeup,” Brown told Geoff Hobson earlier this summer. “I think he really uses his height to his advantage. His mindset and his length are two things that are really going to separate him in the long run. I think he has the natural talent and ability to become one of the best in the league at what he does.”
Unfortunately, none of that has translated into success for Volson so far this season. In fact, through the first five games of the season, PFF has Volson ranked No. 55 overall out of 61 guards playing at least 50% of the offensive snaps. He currently owns an overall mark of 46.7. Anyone with a score under 59.0 is considered replaceable by PFF standards.
As a run blocker, Volson has earned a score of 65.5 so far this season, which is actually No. 18 in the league.
Not bad, but it doesn’t come close to making up for Volson’s deficiencies as a pass blocker.
In pass-blocking, the North Dakota State product stands next-to-last in the league with an abysmal 17.0 score, ranking No. 59 out of 61 guards.
True, Volson had allowed just two sacks through those first five games. But he also allowed 14 pressures on a quarterback with limited mobility. And that’s just not good enough.
So, who is to blame? Has Volson regressed so far in one season that it is past time to make a change? Or has Pollack not developed Volson enough to reach his full potential?
The Bengals need to find answers to these questions quickly if they hope to get themselves back into contention for a playoff berth. More importantly, Cincinnati needs to do anything and everything possible to protect its franchise quarterback and keep its Super Bowl window open for the foreseeable future.
So, heading into Week 6, how worried are you about Volson? Let us know in the poll below and in the comments section!