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20 Questions: Will O-Line Production Change With Pollack Taking Over?
The 20 Questions series continues at the offensive line, where new position coach Frank Pollack takes over, which poses the question if there will be an drop-off in production.
Despite completing four weeks of OTAs and mini-camp practices, several things remain unsettled for the Cowboys. When the team reports to training camp on July 28 in Oxnard, Calif., several questions still need answers.
The staff writers at DallasCowboys.com – Rob Phillips, David Helman, Nick Eatman and Bryan Broaddus – will attempt to answer these questions before the start of training camp.
Today, the staff continues the series with a focus on the offensive line, which experienced a position coaching change with Frank Pollack replacing Bill Callahan.
18) Will New O-Line Coach Affect Overall Production?
David Helman: The coaching change doesn’t bother me one bit, especially considering that Pollack has been here for a while. In the case of Zack Martin and Travis Frederick, he’s been here for the entirety of their careers. The transition should be fine. What worries me is how this line will respond to being targeted every week – because you’d better believe every defensive front on the schedule will want to prove itself against a top unit. Fortunately for the Cowboys, I think this unit has the mental makeup to handle that kind of pressure. I highly doubt this line is going to produce another 1,800-yard rusher in 2015, but I think they’ll improve overall – including pass protection – during Pollack’s first year.
Nick Eatman: With no disrespect to Callahan, I think the offensive line will be just fine, if not better. And it’s not about Callahan and not really about Pollack, either. This line is great because it was supposed to be great. If you take three first-round picks and surround them with other talented players, you’re going to have a good line, if not great. Two years ago, you could argue Pollack spent more time with this group and was responsible for the turnaround in 2013. Pollack is a no-nonsense guy who relates to this group well. I think the line will continue to be dominant with Pollack running the show.
Bryan Broaddus: There is an old saying in sports that great players make great coaches. Coaches are always quick to give praise to their players for the ability to perform. Bill Callahan did a fine job of molding and developing this offensive line and there is no doubt that his direction will be missed but I believe that Frank Pollack will be able to continue on that same path. What encourages me about my opinion is that Pollack has been in that room the past two season and he has an understanding of the dynamic of the group. It’s not as if Pollack has to learn the group and visa-versa. Pollack knows what to expect from the players and they know how they will be coached. The biggest adjustment for the players will be how Pollack handles in game situations which will be different given Callahan’s years in the league. Other than that these players should be able to pick up any slack.
Rob Phillips: The plan at Valley Ranch is simple: same system, one of the same voices. Frank Pollack has been the assistant offensive line coach the last two years, and he was hands-on with the linemen on game days in 2013 while Callahan called plays. So a measure of cohesion should be good for the group. The concepts of Callahan’s blocking scheme will carry over under Pollack, who played under Callahan at Northern Arizona nearly 30 years ago and knows his system inside and out. This doesn’t mean Callahan won’t be missed; he coached top-five rushing attacks in four seasons with the Jets before coming to Dallas, and three Jets players (Nick Mangold, Alan Faneca and D'Brickashaw Ferguson) made a combined nine Pro Bowls. But Pollack has had influence on this line’s success, too. The difference now is he’ll be the primary voice in the room.