Frank Pollack has been around the block — several blocks, actually — when it comes to coaching up NFL offensive lines. He played on the O-line for seven years and 90 games with the 49ers and Broncos and has coached the position for the last 13 years, including five seasons with the Cowboys from 2013-17.
And the Jets OL coach expressed confidence this week that what the Green & White will be going forward will be better than what they were the first three games of the season.
"We're not where we need to be," Pollack said. "As a unit, we've got to get better and keep working. That starts with me. I need to do a better job coaching and we need to do a better job of producing on Sundays."
Can it be fixed this season?
"We'd like to have had it fixed three weeks ago," he said. "I don't have a crystal ball, but we're grinding our [butts] off to get it fixed yesterday."
No one popular ranking captures how an offensive line is performing but several suggest the improvement the Jets need to make. The offense is ranked 32nd overall, 28th on the run (and 29th on yards/carry at 3.03), 32nd in net passing yards, 31st in sacks/attempt, 31st in third-down percentage. Those rankings suffered when Sam Darnold had to exit for the past two weeks with mono, but Pollack wasn't making excuses for the QBs lining up behind his unit.
"That doesn't affect us at all," he said of trying to protect three different starting QBs in those first three weeks. "Whatever the reason is, we've got to get it fixed and resolved. I'm looking forward. We've got to get it fixed, we've got to get better. We'll use the bye to analyze where we can do things maybe a little bit differently, how we prepare, how I coach them. Moving forward, we'll get it fixed."
Popular theories abound. C Ryan Kalil's coming out of retirement to join the Jets in August and not play in a game until the opener against Buffalo is one. But Pollack likes what his veteran pivotman has brought to the room.
"Kalil's a pro, he's preparing the right way and doing great things," the coach said. "All of us as a unit have got to get better. We're the ultimate group in all of sports, judged as one unit, not individuals. So we need to play like that, communicate like that, and get better in those areas."
And to be sure, all lines go through slow periods in their developments, as Pollack has observed for two decades.
"Yeah, you coach long enough, you're going to have the group not clicking on all cylinders. I've had that everywhere I've been at some point through the process. This is nothing out of the ordinary in that regard," he said. "You've just got to keep chipping away and grind, put your nose down and go to work."
Pollack has been doing that this bye week, and the players return next week to alleviate their "general execution and communication issues" and rise from their valley to a peak, preferably as soon as a week from Sunday at Philadelphia.