Numbers don’t lie.
28. 20. 29. 28. 27. 4. 1 (tie). 1.
Those are the final PFF standings for Frank Pollack-coached offensive lines over the past eight years. And Year nine is already off to a pretty miserable start.
In 2015, Frank Pollack was the offensive line coach for the Dallas Cowboys. His unit finished as the top-ranked line for two years in a row. By 2017, they had slipped to No. 4. At the end of the season, Pollack found himself looking for a new job. Maybe Dallas knew something the rest of the league did not.
The Cincinnati Bengals snatched Pollack up shortly thereafter, hoping they had found the answer to their offensive line woes. He lasted one year in the Queen City, and his line finished with a No. 27 ranking.
Pollack spent the next two years as the offensive line coach for the New York Jets. Those lines were ranked Nos. 28 and 29, respectively.
But that was enough to re-ignite the interest of the Bengals, and Pollack was quickly back in Cincinnati in time for the beginning of the 2021 season. It was then that he put together his best showing since his Cowboys days. His line finished at No. 20.
Last year, the Bengals finished with the No. 28-ranked offensive line in the league. This year, Cincinnati was rated at No. 19 after Week 3 and most certainly slipped well below that level after a horrendous outing against the Tennessee Titans.
In fact, Pro Football Focus currently has the Bengals rated 27th in pass blocking and 18th in run blocking. While the Bengals have allowed just eight sacks, Joe Burrow has been knocked down 20 times, tied for the second-most in the NFL.
Case in point. With Cincinnati facing a 1st and five at the Tennessee 49-yard-line to open the second quarter, the Titans rushed five. All five pushed right through their would-be blockers and converged on quarterback Joe Burrow, who was sacked for a loss of nine yards. The Bengals were eventually forced to punt.
Tennessee would go on to sack Burrow an additional two times, but he was under duress for most of the afternoon.
So the question is simple. Has the game passed Pollack by? Are the techniques that worked so well when he was with the Dallas Cowboys from 2015 to 2017 no longer viable in 2023? And is it time for a change?