The Cincinnati Bengals changed offensive line coaches once again, bringing back Frank Pollack for 2021.
Job No. 1 on Pollack's slate is protecting Joe Burrow after the first-round pick had his rookie season cut short due to a knee injury.
"That's Line 1 in every O-line room on all 32 teams. You've got to protect your quarterback. That's what everyone is trying to always constantly get better at and striving for," Pollack said, via Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "We've got a good, young quarterback. We've got to do everything we can to protect him. That's Line 1."
Burrow was destroyed behind a faulty offensive line in 2020, getting sacked 32 times in 10 starts. Despite missing the final six games of the season, the rookie QB still finished tied for the ninth-most sacks taken. Entering his final game, Burrow had taken 72 hits, tied for the most for a rookie QB in his first nine games with Daniel Jones, whose New York Giants had similar O-line issues.
The Bengals are expected to throw resources at the offensive line this offseason, which could include the No. 5 overall selection in the draft.
Pollack spent a year in Cincy in 2018 before moving to the New York Jets the past two seasons. The Bengals allowed 2.3 sacks per game, 11th fewest in the NFL, under the veteran O-line coach three years ago. His return should also help jumpstart the run game. Joe Mixon was pumped when he heard Pollack was returning.
"I think everyone was really excited when we hired coach Pollack. I don't know him personally. But I know Joe (Mixon) was really excited," Burrow said recently. "He called me fired up, hootin' and hollerin' and was very excited. I know Zac's excited about the hire. So, I think he'll do a really good job with those guys and I have full faith in that."
The Bengals found a franchise QB in Burrow. Now they need to do everything possible to protect him.