The Pittsburgh Steelers, at least on paper, had a load of talent along the offensive line when they signed Mike Munchak to be their position coach in 2014. Though only Maurkice Pouncey by that point had actually established himself as a premium talent, the Steelers already had Marcus Gilbert, David DeCastro, and Ramon Foster, and Kelvin Beachum was doing well.
When Munchak came in, he helped bring the most out of players like Gilbert and DeCastro, helping to turn the latter into one of the very best guards in all of football. Gilbert would surely have made at least one Pro Bowl by now if he could just play 16 games.
The Cincinnati Bengals are hoping that Frank Pollack is going to be their Mike Munchak. While they don’t necessarily have the similar level of investment as the Steelers did in their line, with two first-round picks and a second-rounder, they do have some material to work with now, and Pollack is an established coach, rising in prominence for his work with the Dallas Cowboys over the past several years.
Now he is looking to help the Bengals find similar success, and to that end, they have given him some new pieces to play with, including left tackle Cordy Glenn, whom they acquired in a trade for a third-round draft pick, and Billy Price, the center that they selected in the first round this year.
How the rest of the offensive line rounds out is a bit open for debate. At least two positions will have competition, though veteran Clint Boling should continue to lock down his position at left guard. Right guard and right tackle? That’s another story, though it shouldn’t be.
Let’s not forget that the Bengals drafted two linemen in the top two rounds of the draft just a few years ago, and neither of them have panned out, most notably first-rounder Cedric Ogbuehi. According to early reports, however, Ogbuehi has taken well to Pollack’s coaching, and could be in the mix to start at right tackle, where he already flamed out in 2016.
Should he actually develop into a passable starter, that would be an even bigger coup than Munchak turning Gilbert from an inconsistent performer to a talent worthy of Pro Bowl recognition. That is the sort of spark the Bengals are hoping to get under their new offensive line coach.
And it wasn’t a decision that they made lightly. Paul Alexander was with Cincinnati for nearly a quarter of a century. Ironically, Alexander ended up with the Cowboys, so the two organizations have switched coaches.