CINCINNATI – The Bengals did just about everything they can to improve their offensive line over the offseason, which included taking on a risky signing in former Cowboys offensive lineman La’el Collins.
Collins has gone through adversity ever since the pre-draft process leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft. He eventually went undrafted, but turned into a solid starter for the Cowboys before a hip injury and an embarrassing suspension caused him to fall out of favor with the current coaching staff.
For whatever reason you want to pick, this staff has not seemed to be a fan of Collins. Hurt in 2020, suspended in 2021 and didn’t get his job back immediately.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) March 12, 2022
Fortunately, there was a connection with Bengals offensive line coach Frank Pollard that was still intact. Pollard was Collins’ position coach during from 2015-2017 in Dallas and he’s a big reason -if not the reason– why Collins decided to sign with the Bengals.
But that doesn’t negate the questionable suspension and why Mike McCarthy and Co. were never on board with Collins. And while that’s a Dallas problem, there’s definitely a chance for more issues in Cincinnati, which is what makes the signing Collins a risky one. Even if his contract is structured in a manner that can’t cut the Bengals deep.
So far, based off what Zac Taylor has experienced, Collins has been nothing but an example of what it takes to have success in the NFL.
“[Collins] has been a pro every second he’s been here,” Taylor told reporters Tuesday. “He’s one of the first guys in that room – in the weight room. Him and Alex [Cappa] and Ted [Karras] have really been good up there. Just watching what we ask our guys to do in these walkthroughs and how detailed it can be to some. It can be boring and monotonous if they don’t understand how to utilize that stuff to their advantage.”
The Bengals need the Collins that was a borderline Pro Bowler from 2019 to show up in 2021. Per Pro Football Focus, Collins finished with the third-highest overall blocking grade among all tackles with at least 915 blocking snaps that year. He also finished with what was a then-career high 97.5 pass blocking efficiency rating.
And Collins isn’t just working on doing his job, he’s taking the leadership path by helping his teammates.
All around, everything is going exactly how it needs to as we head deeper into June.
“LC’s a guy that we really highlighted today as a great example of just working technique in a walkthrough and trying to get better and make Sam (Hubbard) better so it’s been really great to have him in the building and we’re excited he’s here,” Taylor said.
You can watch Taylor’s full press conference, below:
Featured image via Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK