JULY 29: While Taylor still refused to budge on the phrasing of “several weeks” in an interview today with Pelissero, the vibe around camp seems a bit less cautious. “Several weeks” could indicate that Burrow’s recovery could carry into the regular season, causing him to miss a few games, but Pelissero’s colleague Ian Rapoport reports that, in Cincinnati, “there doesn’t appear to be concern” about the star quarterback being ready for Week 1.
JULY 28: The Bengals will not have their superstar quarterback at practice for a while. They are expecting to be without Joe Burrow for several weeks, Zac Taylor said Friday.
Burrow suffered a calf strain during practice Thursday. After reports of the strain circulated, Taylor confirmed this is the injury. The Bengals are planning to add another quarterback, Taylor said (via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero).
Trevor Siemian and Jake Browning are the healthy Cincinnati passers presently. Set to each see first-team time, the two will enjoy more important work soon. Letting previous Burrow backup Brandon Allen walk (to the 49ers) in free agency, the Bengals signed Siemian soon after that transaction. When asked about the possibility Burrow’s absence will stretch into the regular season, the fifth-year Bengals HC did not comment.
Burrow has battled back from bigger injuries in his career, having made it back from a November 2020 ACL tear in time for the 2021 season opener. He also missed camp time due to appendicitis last year.
Wearing a sleeve on his injured leg at Thursday’s practice, Burrow went down on a noncontact play and was eventually carted off the practice field. The Bengals did not consider holding Burrow out of practice yesterday, Taylor said. While it represents good news Burrow’s injury did not affect his Achilles’ tendon, it is obviously not ideal for a Bengals team whose championship hopes hinge on their QB’s availability. Opening with a road game against the Browns, the Bengals do not begin their season for six weeks.
Camp absences have not led to Burrow missing time in the regular season. The former No. 1 overall pick has not missed a start due to injury since returning from the ACL tear. The Bengals held Burrow out of their Week 18 game in 2021. Other than that, the 2019 Heisman winner has been on the field leading the Bengals’ ascent in this span.
An experience disparity exists between the Bengals’ two backups, with Browning — a 2019 Vikings UDFA — having yet to play a regular-season game. Since being given the keys to start Denver’s Super Bowl title defense in 2016, Siemian has made 30 starts. Browning, 27, may have an uphill battle for QB2 duties, despite having been with the team since September 2021. Siemian, 31, has been with five teams — the Vikings, Jets, Titans, Saints and Bears — since his Broncos tenure ended.
This calf issue should not affect the Bengals’ timeline for Burrow’s extension; the fourth-year passer expressed patience when asked about his negotiations this week. With Justin Herbert agreeing to a $52.5MM-per-year deal with the Chargers on Tuesday night, Burrow will be expected to finish the offseason as the NFL’s highest-paid player. It will just be a matter of how much the Cincy QB moves the bar from the Herbert point. This injury figures to keep Burrow off the field until he signs that long-rumored extension.