Joe Burrow

Joe Burrow Expects To Be Ready For Week 1 Of 2021 Season

The Bengals ended the 2020 campaign on a sour note, a 38-3 blowout loss to the division-rival Ravens. Despite the defeat and the team’s 4-11-1 record, there were some bright spots, most notably the performance of rookie signal-caller Joe Burrow.

Burrow suffered a torn ACL and MCL in Cincinnati’s Week 11 loss to Washington, and he also sustained damage to his meniscus and PCL. Despite the gravity of the injury, Burrow expects to be ready for Week 1 of the 2021 season, as Ben Baby of ESPN.com details.

Speaking to the media for the first time since the injury, Burrow — who underwent surgery on December 2 — says he is past the worst part of his rehab. When asked about his prospects for the start of next season, the 24-year-old passer said, “I think I’ll be ready. I think it’ll be just fine.”

That’s obviously good news for Bengals fans, who are hoping their club can return to competitiveness in a talented AFC North. Reports from November indicated that Burrow was expected to return to action “right around” the start of the 2021 season, but given the extensiveness of the knee damage, there will continue to be concern about Burrow’s availability until he puts on the pads.

With a healthy Burrow in the fold, there is reason for optimism in the Queen City. The former LSU standout, along with RB Joe Mixon and wideouts Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, represent a strong core of skill-position talent, and full seasons from defensive players like D.J. Reader and Trae Waynes would also be a big help. There is still plenty of work to do along the offensive line and in the front seven, but there is at least a foundation to build upon.

There were some rumors that head coach Zac Taylor may not be given the chance to return for a third year at the helm, but team president Mike Brown quickly put an end to those rumblings earlier this week. Burrow, for one, is happy to see his HC return.

“I think Zac is going to be a great coach for a long time,” he said. “I’m happy to be in the position that I’m in and to help build this organization, but it’s going to be on Zac’s back. He’s the leader of what we’re trying to do, and he’s awesome.”

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Bengals Likely To Keep Zac Taylor For 2021?

Although Zac Taylor‘s 4-23-1 record as Bengals head coach represents one of the worst all-time marks for a coach to start his career, he may not be in jeopardy of losing his job.

Not much buzz has emerged about Taylor being on the hot seat, according to Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. Unsurprisingly, Joe Burrow looms at the center of this discussion.

Rumors prior to the Bengals using the No. 1 overall pick centered around the Ohio native being uncertain about the Cincinnati franchise. Despite the severe knee injury the former LSU superstar suffered, Burrow has expressed fondness for his Bengals situation and the franchise’s future, per Fowler and Graziano.

It also does not hurt the Bengals are known for their patience. This was best displayed through Marvin Lewis lasting 16 years as Cincinnati’s head coach without winning a playoff game and David Shula winning 19 games in four-plus seasons. However, the Bengals did fire Dick LeBeau after two-plus seasons, bringing in Lewis. Should Taylor earn a third season, it would stand to reason his seat would be scorching-hot come 2021.

Burrow’s 10-game QBR figure ranks 24th, and the 2019 Heisman winner was in the running for Offensive Rookie of the Year prior to going down. The Bengals, however, have ranked 30th and 29th in points scored under Taylor, who came to Cincinnati with limited play-calling experience. And among coaches who have coached since the 2019 season, Taylor’s four wins rank last. But he may benefit from multiple factors and receive a third year.

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North Notes: Bevell, Lewis, Ravens, Browns

The first Lions interim head coach in 15 years, Darrell Bevell will have five games to run the team. While it should be expected the Lions go in a different direction when they make a full-time hire in 2021, Bevell said team president Rod Wood informed him he is not out of the picture for the permanent gig, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter). Although Bevell was a Matt Patricia hire, the former Seahawks offensive coordinator did not join the Lions until Patricia’s second season. Prior to Bevell spending seven seasons as Seattle’s OC, he oversaw the Vikings’ Brett Favre offenses and held that job for five seasons. His latest offense ranks 20th, though it has been without Kenny Golladay for a big chunk of the season.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • Mike Zimmer replaced defensive coordinator George Edwards by dividing the DC duties between his son (Adam Zimmer) and Andre Patterson. But the Vikings HC wanted a more experienced hand in the room, even before Edwards’ exit. Prior to Edwards’ 2020 departure, Mike Zimmer wanted to hire his former boss — ex-Bengals HC Marvin Lewis — as a defensive assistant, Dan Pompei of The Athletic notes (subscription required). This interest came in 2019, and Zimmer sought Lewis for a part-time role, Pompei adds. Lewis ended up on Herm Edwards‘ Arizona State staff, in an advisory role, last year and is now the Sun Devils’ co-defensive coordinator.
  • Robert Griffin III indeed suffered a hamstring pull in the Ravens‘ Wednesday loss to the Steelers, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. He is not expected to practice when Baltimore reconvenes for workouts. The earliest Lamar Jackson could practice would be Sunday, which would give the Ravens starter one full practice and a Monday walkthrough in advance of a Tuesday return against the Cowboys. It is not known if Jackson will be ready by then, but he will be eligible to return after testing positive for the coronavirus on Nov. 26.
  • The Browns will not have one of their starters for a while. They placed Ronnie Harrison on IR this week, and Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes the third-year safety’s shoulder injury is expected to keep him out between four and six weeks. This is a big setback for the Browns; Pro Football Focus slots Harrison as its 12th-highest-graded safety this season. Cleveland’s secondary is already down Denzel Ward, who is rehabbing a calf strain.
  • Joe Burrow underwent surgery on his injured knee Wednesday, the Bengals announced in a brief statement. The No. 1 overall pick suffered ACL and MCL tears as well as other structural damage. He is not expected to be ready to return until around the start of next season.
  • Seeking kicker insurance in the COVID-19 era, the Packers worked out Roberto Aguayo, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notes. The Packers, who have used Mason Crosby as their kicker since 2007, do not have a kicker on their practice squad currently. Aguayo has not caught on with a team since the Chargers cut him in 2018; the former second-round pick has not kicked in a game since his 2016 rookie season.

Latest On Bengals’ Joe Burrow

Joe Burrow is done for the year, but today’s medical tests brought some positive news. The Bengals quarterback is expected to be ready right around the start of the 2021 season, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). 

After recovering from ACL surgery, Burrow will shift his focus to rehab. Hopefully, by the time he returns, the Bengals will have done something to address his Swiss cheese offensive line. Burrow did his best to escape pressure this year, but he was battered often.

People keep talking about the offensive line without it seemingly watching the film from last four weeks,” said head coach Zac Taylor in defense of his linemen (via Sports Illustrated). “Those guys have done a good job. It’s been a revolving door of players; we’re doing a great job. Joe’s done a good job moving us down the field, and we felt like we’re making a lot of progress over the last five weeks, and we’re not going to apologize for any of that.”

Heading into Week 11, Burrow was sacked 32 times. With an average of 3.6 sacks per game, they were “second” only to the Eagles in that category. Despite that, the No. 1 overall pick managed 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns, and just five interceptions through nine-plus games.

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Joe Burrow Done For The Year

UPDATE, 4:45pm: It is indeed believed to be an ACL tear for Burrow, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapsheet adds that “there may be additional damage.” We’ll keep you posted as soon as we have more details.

3:58 pm: Devastating injury news to begin Week 11, as Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow had to be carted off the field with a knee injury. Shortly after leaving the game, Burrow confirmed on Twitter that he was done for the season.

Thanks for all the love. Can’t get rid of me that easy. See ya next year,” the former LSU star wrote to fans. We still don’t have official word on the exact injury, although an ACL tear looked possible based on the way his left knee got rolled up on. Assuming that’s the case, or if it’s hopefully less severe, Burrow should be fully recovered in time to be under center for Week 1 of next year. No matter what, it’s a disappointing end to what had been an exciting rookie campaign. 

Cincinnati has struggled mightily but Burrow has been a bright spot in an otherwise bleak season, looking every bit like the number one overall pick. Despite playing behind a patchwork offensive line that frequently had him running for his life, he showed plenty of flashes and had some huge games. The former Heisman Trophy winner will finish his first year as a pro with 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns, and only five interceptions through nine-plus games.

Ha also added another three scores as a runner. This year was tough, but with some solid weapons around him, the future is bright for this offense. As for the rest of the season, it looks like the Bengals will turn to 2019 fourth-rounder Ryan Finley moving forward. They also have Brandon Allen on the practice squad. Here’s to hoping this turns out to be little more than a small blip on a long career.

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AFC North Notes: Browns, Burrow, Ravens

The Browns have not honored David Njoku‘s trade request. The former first-round pick enters his fourth season in Cleveland, and while Kevin Stefanski said he had not spoken with Njoku in several weeks, the first-year Browns coach noted he is eager to work with him.

My stance hasn’t changed. The organization’s stance hasn’t changed in that we believe in David, excited to work with him,” Stefanski said, via cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. “I’ll get to finally be in the same room as him this weekend as he is coming in for physicals and then get out on the field with him Monday.”

Njoku has not lived up to his Round 1 billing yet, leading the Browns to give Austin Hooper a tight end-record contract. While Njoku’s unhappiness was reported to predate the team’s Hooper addition, he tweeted that he “loves Cleveland” while noting the game includes “a lot of complications.” Regardless, Njoku is set to earn $1.76MM this season. The Browns picked up his fifth-year option (worth $6MM) but can cut bait on that cost before the 2021 league year.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Despite the COVID-19 pandemic preventing teams from conducting on-field workouts throughout the offseason, the Browns have not changed their plan at tackle. First-round pick Jedrick Wills will begin his career as Cleveland’s starting left tackle, Stefanski adds. The Alabama product will make the interesting transition from college right tackle to NFL left tackle. Recently signed free agent Jack Conklin, a college left tackle, will continue his NFL right tackle work.
  • The Browns hired former Vikings QBs coach Kevin Rogers as a senior offensive assistant. Rogers was with the Vikings from 2006-10, which doubled as Stefanski’s first five years with the franchise, but has not coached since 2016. Rogers, 68, spent decades at the college level. He worked as the offensive coordinator for Syracuse (1991-98), Notre Dame (1999-2001) and Boston College (2011). His most recent gig was at alma mater William & Mary; that four-year stay ended after the 2016 season.
  • The Ravens will use Jimmy Smith in a matchup-based capacity. They are trying their longtime starting cornerback at safety and in the slot, John Harbaugh said. As of now, there is no plan to permanently move the veteran corner to safety. The Ravens are deep at cornerback, with Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey and slot man Tavon Young back in the fold. Young, however, has missed two of the past three full seasons. Harbaugh said the fifth-year corner is back to 100% after a neck injury last summer.
  • Ravens rookie UDFA tight end Jacob Breeland will miss the 2020 season, Harbaugh confirmed. The Oregon product was one of the top contenders for Baltimore’s No. 3 tight end spot, per The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec (subscription required).
  • As expected, Joe Burrow‘s rookie year will consist of on-the-job training. The Bengals will not give one of their more experienced QBs the first snaps as their starter in training camp. Burrow will take them, Zac Taylor said, per Marisa Contipelli of Bengals.com (on Twitter). Cincinnati returns 2019 draftee Ryan Finley and agreed to terms with fifth-year quarterback Brandon Allen, who worked with Taylor in Los Angeles.

Bengals, Joe Burrow Agree To Deal

At long last, the Bengals have reached agreement with No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow on his rookie deal (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). Per the terms of his slot, the LSU quarterback will receive $36.1MM over the course of four years, including a $23.88MM signing bonus. 

Like the league’s other 31 clubs, the Bengals were skittish about forking over millions of dollars in the midst of economic uncertainty. Ultimately, Burrow got the payout structure he wanted – he’ll get 100% of his signing bonus within 15 days of the contract being executed, per Schefter. The deal will be formally signed later this week, after Burrow takes his physical.

Burrow joined Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield as consecutive Heisman winners to be drafted No. 1 overall. The Bengals’ Burrow infatuation was the league’s worst-kept secret. After a 2-14 finish to the 2019 season, they’re hoping that Burrow will help right the ship and put them in contention in the not-too-distant future.

An Ohio native, Burrow posted arguably the greatest quarterback season in the history of college football in 2019, completing 76.3% of his passes for 60 touchdowns. That TD total is an NCAA record, and he did it while throwing only six picks. Fresh off of a National Championship, the LSU star is now weeks away from his pro debut.

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No. 1 Pick Joe Burrow Has Yet To Sign Bengals Deal

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has yet to put pen to paper on his rookie contract. In an interview on the Pardon My Take podcast, the No. 1 overall pick indicated that the deal might not be inked anytime soon.

[RELATED: Panthers Sign Derrick Brown]

We’re just waiting to see what happens over the next three months because we really don’t know,” Burrow said (via ESPN.com’s Ben Baby).

Most of this year’s 250+ rookies have yet to sign their deals, so Burrow’s situation is not unique. However, it could be indicative of a much larger issue. Some executives and agents have wondered whether it’ll take longer for top draft picks to sign this year, since teams are facing potentially enormous revenue losses.

Those league officials believe that the deals will be completed, eventually, but cash flow could be a concern for clubs. A season without fans would mean zero gate attendance revenue, a shortened season would mean significantly less dollars coming in, and a cancelled season would be disastrous, from a financial standpoint. With that in mind, teams may be looking to hold on to the allocated signing bonus money a little bit longer.

In the case of Burrow, the LSU product is due a ~$24MM bonus. After that, the bonus figures decrease pick-by-pick, in accordance with each player’s slot. New Redskins edge rusher Chase Young (No. 2 overall) is set to collect a $22.7MM bonus and Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah (N0. 3) is in line for $21.9MM. The figure decreases the further you move down the board, though every player from Nos. 1-11 is ticketed for an eight-figure lump sum bonus.

Meanwhile, like all of us, Burrow is eager for football – and life in general – to resume normalcy:

Instead of talking, we can get back on the field. Hopefully soon.”

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Bengals Won’t Look To Sign Veteran QB

The Bengals aren’t looking to sign another veteran quarterback to play behind No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, head coach Zac Taylor says. “We’re set,” Taylor said. (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Ben Baby). 

After the draft, the Bengals parted ways with longtime starter Andy Dalton after months of fruitless attempts to trade him. For months, Dalton said that he was focused on playing as a QB1 in 2020. He eased up on that stance this spring, but it’s not clear whether he was willing to take enough of a pay cut in Cincinnati to make that work, or whether the Bengals even made him a realistic offer. Ultimately, Dalton found a vibrant market for his services once he was let go – the Patriots, Jaguars, and Jets all considered the veteran before he joined up with the Cowboys (while he backstops Dak Prescott, Dalton says he’ll be aiming to start in 2021).

For now, the Bengals have Ryan Finley and 2019 UDFA Jacob Dolegala as the backups behind Burrow. Finley, a fourth-round pick last year, posted a dismal 47.1% completion rate with an average of 5.4 yards per attempt in three starts. After that, the Bengals turned things back over to Dalton, who at least got to leave Cincinnati as a first-stringer in his final game.

Burrow – who completed 76.3% of his passes for an NCAA-record 60 touchdowns last year with only six interceptions – will be expected to carry the load in his first pro season.

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Chargers Liked Tua Tagovailoa At No. 6

With the No. 6 pick in the NFL Draft, the Chargers found their new quarterback in Oregon product Justin Herbert. But, even if wasn’t there, GM Tom Telesco says he would have taken a QB, no matter what. 

We felt great about all three quarterbacks who went in the Top 6,” Telesco told Pat McAfee of Barstool Sports (Twitter link), referring to No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow and Dolphins choice Tua Tagovailoa. “Hopefully we won’t pick at No. 6 very often…if I do, I won’t be making very many picks hereIf you’re going to pick this high and there’s a potential franchise quarterback, you have to take him.”

Burrow to the Bengals was long considered a sure thing and Tagovailoa was connected to the Dolphins for months. As the draft drew closer, whispers of the Dolphins’ interest in Herbert grew louder and louder. And, days before the draft, there was talk of the Dolphins trading up to the No. 3 pick to select an offensive lineman, rather than a quarterback. That’s one rumor that Telesco didn’t bite on.

Every rumor I heard, I went through my head of, ‘How would we handle this if this happened?’,” Telesco told Pat McAfee. “Now, the whole, Miami taking a tackle at 3, maybe they really were, I just didn’t believe that one. You make plans, you talk with your head coach…you talk about trading up or down in certain situations. When you’re on the clock making the pick, you’re not discussing what you want to do, you’ve already decided.

The opinions on Herbert are pretty mixed in the football world. Those that are high on him believe that his elite arm strength will allow him to succeed as a starter. Others are concerned about his pension for holding on to the ball for too long in the pocket. At the same time, Tagovailoa’s health remains a major question mark moving forward and Telesco says he would have been happy with either QB as the heir to Philip Rivers.

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