The Cincinnati Bengals admitted the problem that is the offensive line this week with the reveal that Jim Turner won’t be back as coach of the unit, re-hiring Frank Pollack in his place.
And Pollack appears to have some plans for fixing the issue.
Speaking after the Bengals announced the move, Pollack made it clear there are some things he wouldn’t mind doing to speed up the process, per Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com:
“There’ll be some changes. Some things will be the same. You don’t want to have change for change sake. Those guys have a lot of good stuff already in our offense. I’m sure there’ll be a couple of things I’d like to maybe add. Working with Zac, if he feels good about it and think it’s the right direction for us, that’s what we’ll do. Whatever we can do to make our offense better, that’s what we’ll do.”
When it comes to additions, it would make sense if the team went out and spent big in free agency to shore up a guard or tackle spot. Big-name guards like Joe Thuney and Brandon Scherff come to mind.
Pollack also figures to lobby plenty for an offensive tackle like Penei Sewell with the fifth pick in the draft, though whether a prospect of his caliber falls that far is up for debate — that’s why someone like Mel Kiper Jr. wants to see the Bengals trade up from five.
Either way, it’s clear Pollack liked what he heard from the Bengals and vice versa and now they’ll forge ahead together, trying to fix the line in front of Joe Burrow.
The Cincinnati Bengals aren’t making major changes to the coaching staff after two seasons led to a 6-25-1 record, instead keeping Zac Taylor and all three coordinators.
But there are plenty of moves the team can make to improve in 2021.
With important players headed to free agency, free agency itself, spots on the coaching staff to fill and a top-five draft pick, the Bengals need to make a variety of moves to guarantee things are ready for Cheap Joe Burrow Jersey return.
Re-sign Carl Lawson
Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Cheap Carl Lawson Jersey (58) walks the sideline between drives in the second quarter of the NFL Week 1 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020.
Los Angeles Chargers At Cincinnati Bengals
The defense isn’t getting anywhere without Lawson. He had 41 pressures this season — the next highest player had 17. He’s the only consistent thing the team has in this department and trying to replace him and add more around that replacement would be far too costly. Bite the bullet, pay up and then add complementary pieces around him.
Re-sign William Jackson
Nov 1, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback William Jackson (22) warms up before a game against the Tennessee Titans at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Has WJ3 been perfect? Far from it. But even an untrained eye can see how much opposing passers pick on the other corners when he’s on the field. Like Lawson, trying to replace the team’s No. 1 corner would be far too risky, even with Trae Waynes finally arriving next year. Throw some of the cap space at him and address the shaky depth after WJ3, Waynes and Cheap Darius Phillips Jersey.
Oct 13, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cheap Cincinnati Bengals Jerseys defensive back Cheap Brandon Wilson Jersey (40) returns a kick during the first quarter against the Cheap Baltimore Ravens Jerseys at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
The Bengals need to retain Brandon Wilson for returns. They need to bring back Cheap Mackensie Alexander Jersey for slot depth. Names like Cheap Mike Daniels Jersey and Cheap Cethan Carter Jersey are also important for depth and/or special teams.
Move Geno Atkins
Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Cheap Geno Atkins Jersey (97) returns to the sideline after a Ravens drive in the second quarter of the NFL Week 2 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. The Bengals led 28-14 at halftime.
Baltimore Ravens At Cincinnati Bengals
This one hurts. It stinks. But Atkins didn’t get on the field much this season due to a summer shoulder injury and like Carlos Dunlap, didn’t seem to fit much if he did. The team can save roughly $9.6 million in cap space if they cut Atkins, the team’s second-highest cap charge in 2021. It’s a necessary move so the money can go elsewhere.
Trim the fat
Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Cheap Bobby Hart Jersey (68) reacts during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)
Atkins isn’t the only notable cap charge that needs to go. The team needs to replace right tackle Bobby Hart and cutting him would free up $5.9 million. Cutting Cheap B.J. Finney Jersey, who never saw the field, will save $3.5 million. And if a new line coach has no interest in working on it, Cheap Billy Price Jersey would free up about $2 million. Those three moves, plus Atkins, would free up roughly $21 million, added to the $34 million of projected space as things stand now.
Attack the OL in free agency
Sep 15, 2019; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins offensive guard Brandon Scherff (75) walks down the tunnel prior to the Redskins’ game against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Free agency is the place for needs to open up the draft for best player available. Big-name guards like Brandon Scherff and Joe Thuney could be there for the taking at high prices. Shoring up guard instead of messing around with experiments like Quinton Spain is a must to make life easier on the tackles. And now finding a veteran center is a must with Cheap Trey Hopkins Jersey suffering a torn ACL in Week 17 .
Attack other areas in free agency
Dec 11, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Cheap Marvin Jones Jersey (11) walks off the field before the game against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field. Lions win 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
It couldn’t hurt to grab a wideout in free agency either. Think, a veteran like Marvin Jones, an old friend. Or even a high-upside guy like a Corey Davis. It’s a deep free-agent class and opens up the draft. Same story goes for depth at all three levels of the defense.