The Cincinnati Bengals have hired former Cowboys offensive line coach Frank Pollack, the team announced on Thursday.
Pollack spent three seasons as the Cowboys O-line coach from 2015 through 2017 after being promoted from an assistant coaching position. The Cowboys were ranked in the top 10 in rushing offense for all three of those seasons, and ranked top-2 in rushing in 2016 and 2017.
However, there is a vast difference between the personnel in Dallas and Cincinnati at this time. The Bengals lost both of their best linemen, Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth, to free agency last season and did not replace them. Instead, they re-signed former Bengals tackle Andre Smith with the intention of playing him at guard for the first time in his career. The Bengals' two tackles, Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher, did not make it through the season, and the Bengals were forced to go through several tackles during the year while trying to find one that worked.
The only mainstays on the line were left guard Clint Boling, who had to be moved to tackle at the end of the season due to injuries, and center Russell Bodine, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this year.
While it was clear the Bengals thought they could simply get by with the linemen on the roster, the Cowboys have taken the opposite approach during the last few years. The Cowboys have invested heavily in the offensive line via the draft, taking tackle Tyron Smith in the first round in 2011, center Travis Frederick in the first round in 2013, tackle Zach Martin in the first round in 2014 and Chaz Green in the third round in 2015. The Cowboys also heavily recruited and were able to sign La'el Collins after he fell out of the draft entirely in 2015.
Martin, Smith and Frederick made the Pro Bowl in all three seasons under Pollack, while running back Ezekiel Elliott made the Pro Bowl in 2016.
Although Ogbuehi and Fisher were taken in the first and second round of the 2015 draft, respectively, both struggled when they were asked to start in 2016 and 2017. Fisher played in seven games in 2017 before going on the non-football-injury list due to a medical condition. The Bengals had to scramble to fill spots at the end of the year.