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Frank Pollack on what’s next for Jonah Williams and the battle at right tackle

It appears Jonah Williams and La’el Collins will be battling it out to be the starting right tackle.

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals went out and made one of the biggest splashes this off-season by landing left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. We all know what happens when you make a splash though, the ripple effect is felt through the rest of the team. The position impacted by this move the most will be the starting right tackle spot.

We at least get an idea of what the Bengals’ thoughts on it right now are. Offensive line coach Frank Pollack spoke with Dave Lapham on his show In the Trenches and had this to say.

“We see competition always brings out the best in everybody,” Pollack stated. “We got [La’el Collins] rehabbing, we’ll move [Jonah Williams] over there. We’re excited for that [competition] to develop and bring out the best of what we’ve got in the room on the offensive line.”

It should be noted first that this is what any coach would say while both players are on the roster. This doesn’t completely rule out either of these players being let go eventually, though that looks unlikely with Williams.

We can talk in the space where we assume both players are retained for training camp at the very least. Collins is still very much in the thick of rehabbing tearing his ACL and MCL late last December against the New England Patriots.

At Collins’ age (30 at the start of the season) and already having ongoing injury issues with his hip (he missed all of 2020 due to that injury) that caused him to miss a vast majority of training camp last season. That doesn’t bode well for Collins winning a competition or being on the roster by Week 1 for that matter.

Williams himself dislocated his knee against the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card round, but that should be something that keeps him from being out there during camp. Williams has also proven to be serviceable at left tackle, and many in the league felt a move to right tackle was where he should have been from the start.

Many fans were critical of Williams in 2022. You also have to remember he was playing with a rookie left guard in Cordell Volson. There is a learning curve there for both players to be on the same page, and to understand what the defense is trying to do. This isn’t to say Volson was bad and Williams is great. It is merely to point out that we don’t know how much communication played into some of the issues the left side of the line had at times.

Based on all that alone, it is hard to see Collins being able to beat out Williams unless his production falls off a cliff. The Bengals will take their time on Collins, as releasing him when healthy will actually save more cap space.

We will have to see how it plays out, but the odds are high that Williams will be the starting right tackle.