Bengals Notes: La’el Collins leading O-line

“Great feet,” he says. “Showing off.”

Then there is “Big Bertha,” the bag/sled the Bengals equipment guys haul out to practice on a forklift. Pollack stands behind the bag and releases the force into the player.

“She’s big and strong,” Collins says. “It’s used to help against a bull rush where the guy is coming at you. You have to hit the bag, sink your hips and re-fit. You have to stymie her, re-fit and get control of it. It builds that muscle memory and is really good for the legs.”

And this is all in shorts and hats. The helmets don’t come on until June. All the better. When they go against Big Bertha without helmets, Pollack knows that emphasizes the need to keep the head back, a key fundamental against the bull rush.

“It might not simulate actually pushing on somebody, but whatever it is, the sled or bag or medicine ball, you’re going to feel some kind of resistance,” Collins says. “Which is good because then you’re already in a groove when it comes time to hitting somebody.”

During his first week on the field as a Bengal, Collins’ reunion with Pollack five years in the making had “a little burn to it.”

“No one I’ve been around,” Collins says, “has ever had this much equipment and no one has been as detailed.”

STARTING FAST: The Bengals are easing into things during their first week on the field. Quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher observed this week that there haven’t been any drastic changes in drills or mechanics: “We’re just trying to get our feet under us and get the timing back with the receivers.”

It’s just more philosophy right now. In Tuesday’s State of the Offense Address, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow talked about getting off to a faster start. It’s hard to imagine after their great stretch run, but in the first nine games of the season, the Bengals were just 14th offensively in overall yards. In the eight games after the bye, they were ninth. And in the last three games they were fifth.

“We kind of just skidded at that beginning part when we weren’t quite doing all the things we needed to do to win those games that we expected to win,” Burrow said. “Just going into this year, I just expect to be a more refined, more technical offense that really maintains the explosiveness and efficiency throughout the entire year.”

Pitcher thinks it’s mentality as much as mechanics. Clearly they were more aggressive as the season went on and rode that mindset all the way into that last series of the Super Bowl.