The Cincinnati Bengals are bringing back a familiar face to coach the offensive line.
Frank Pollack returns to the position he previously held with the Bengals in 2018 – now also adding the role of run game coordinator to his title. He was not retained when Marvin Lewis departed at the end of that season, and Zac Taylor brought in Jim Turner as his replacement.
Cincinnati parted ways with Turner this week following a 4-11-1 season in which Joe Mixon was the team’s leading rusher with 428 yards despite missing the final 10 games because of a foot injury.
“Frank will help us make great strides in the run game and protections,” Taylor said in a press release issued by the team. “He brings great technical skills in player development and his familiarity with some of our current offensive linemen will allow him to get to work right away. We interviewed several strong candidates to get the best outcome for our team. I am excited about the experience Frank brings to our offense.”
Pollack, 53, spent the last two seasons with the struggling N.Y. Jets (2-14), who were last in the league in scoring offense and net offense and 23rd in rushing this season, but Pollack was well-liked in the Bengals locker room before his departure.
Under Pollack’s direction in 2018, Cincinnati’s offensive line ranked 11th in the NFL in fewest sacks allowed per game (2.3), while also paving the way for Mixon to log career-highs in rushing yards (1,168), average yards per attempt (4.9) and rushing touchdowns (eight).
“I am super excited for Coach Pollack to be back,” Mixon said in the release. “He’s proven he’s the best in the business. There are a lot of records to be broken. I’m looking forward to getting back on the field and getting to work.”
Center Trey Hopkins called Pollack a “high-energy guy.”
“We’re excited to work with him again,” Hopkins said in the release. “We know the kind of work he expects and the kind of results we can achieve. He demands a lot and is very clear with his instructions. He is a great coach to play for.”
Turner, one of Taylor’s first hires to his staff in 2019, came in with a cloud of controversy for his involvement in a 2013 bullying scandal while on staff with the Miami Dolphins, but Taylor defended the decision amid his desire to bring a culture surrounded by character and accountability, noting him to be a “great person, great human” and someone he trusted.
Taylor was on staff with Turner in Miami from 2012-13 and the two previously worked together at Texas A&M from 2008-11. The new Bengals head coach also had hired Turner to join him at the University of Cincinnati in 2016 when Taylor was offensive coordinator, which was Turner’s first coaching job since the Miami incident, but Turner left for A&M after two weeks. The Aggies kept him on board – despite a three-game suspension for showing offensive slides in a PowerPoint -- right up until his decision to leave for the Bengals job.
This season, the Bengals finished 29th in scoring offense (19.4 points per game) and net offense (319.8 yards per game) and ranked 24th in rushing yards (1,668) and 28th in sacks allowed with 48.
Asked Monday how he assessed Turner’s job the past two seasons, Taylor remained positive.
“I thought that they had some really good moments and I think Jim is a really good football coach,” Taylor said. “When your record is what your record is nothing was ever good enough. We have to continue to evaluate all of the players and everything. Those guys had some good moments and some moments where we’ve got to improve. That goes for this whole football team.”