2015 first-round pick Cedric Ogbuehi's career has received a boost with a new scheme.
Cedric Ogbuehi, who was supposed to replace Andrew Whitworth and instead got replaced by Cordy Glenn, is undergoing sort of a revival under first-year offensive line coach Frank Pollack. It is time to add him to the derby vying to start at right tackle opposite Glenn.
As the Bengals left for their six-week break Thursday when head coach Marvin Lewis broke the mandatory minicamp, Ogbuehi professed he loves the new scheme and Pollack left impressed with how he’s moved between both tackles. With Pollack emphasizing punching and other techniques tailored for the 6-5, 305-pound former first-round pick, they’ve put Ogbuehi’s career back on track.
“I like it a lot. I use my hands more,” said Ogbuehi, who agrees with the observation Pollack has been a boost for his career. “For sure. I think he’s done a great job for all of us. He’s helped a lot. I’m excited. It’s just using your sets and getting on (the defenders) quicker. The big difference is you get on them quicker.”
As the players walked off the Paul Brown Stadium field Thursday, Pollack walked off with him and congratulated him on a good offseason and urged him to keep it going during the break.
“He’s gifted athletically. He’s got great length and he took to the teaching of the technique,” Pollack said. “He was working hard and he’s really talented with his athletic ability and we have to play to that. He’s got to get on guys quicker and play longer and have more confidence in himself and what we’re teaching him. He gradually got that. He’s got a good platform to build on for training camp. He looks very comfortable (at both left and right). If you’re not a solidified starter, you have to play the multiple spots no matter how uncomfortable it is.”
Pollack has certainly converted Ogbuehi to the idea of playing right tackle. As he walked to his car the day after that 2016 season he was benched after 11 starts at right tackle, he hoped he was done with the position.
“It’s a tough experience, but those are things we go through. I went through it and now I’m going to go from there,” Ogbuehi said back on Jan. 2, 2017. “Just not playing right tackle is going to be big for me. It’s not my position.”
But on Thursday Ogbuehi said, “What’s ever best for the team. I was open. I was never saying I was this or that. I was open. Really, where ever the team needs me.”
On Jan. 2, 2017, Pollack’s Cowboys were coming off a 13-3 record and headed into a post-season bye to prepare for the winner of the Packers-Giants game. So the only Ogbuehi he knows is the one from the spring of 2018.
“I didn’t coach him last year. I didn’t coach him two years ago. I’m not exposed to him,” Pollack said. “That’s great everyone’s got their opinion. I’m the line coach. I’m going to formulate my opinion. It’s a whole new deal.”
Right tackle looks to be shaping up to be a battle among Ogbuehi, his 2015 draft classmate Jake Fisher and former Giant Bobby Hart. Fisher had just started to ease his way back into the lineup after dealing with a shoulder injury, so Ogbuehi took advantage of the snaps. It’s the classic case of a player not having to leave to get a fresh start.
“I think he sees the opportunity for him to continue his career and build on it,” Pollack said. “I think he sees himself having success on the stuff we’re teaching him. Players will gravitate if they’re having success on what you’re teaching. Sometimes it’s not easy. Sometimes it might take guys a little more time to develop. When you see guys having success, they buy in. If they’re enjoying themselves, they buy into what we’re teaching them. From scheme all the way down to technique. Accept your role. Own your role.”