What would have happened to Ohio State’s football program had Joe Burrow not broken his hand in 2017? Would Burrow have beaten out Dwayne Haskins to become backup J.T. Barrett’s backup? Such a scenario would’ve made Burrow the likely starter in 2018 for the Buckeyes and Haskins the likely candidate to transfer out of Columbus, instead of vice versa.
Former head coach Urban Meyer probably doesn’t regret the way things ended up too much. Haskins did eventually take over for Barrett and led the school to a 13-1 season culminating in a Rose Bowl victory. His single season as the starter was enough for him to become a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by Washington.
The start of Haskins’ professional career was what Meyer was recently asked about on the Move The Sticks podcast. Meyer offered his defense towards his former quarterback, as well as similar words of wisdom for the player who transferred from Ohio State to LSU and became the first pick in this year’s draft.
“You know, Joe Burrow, he’s at the Cincinnati Bengals now and they were 2-14 last year,” Meyer said. “You want to know how Joe Burrow’s gonna become great? Surround him with a great culture, with great leadership, and some great players, he’ll be great. If not, he won’t.”
Meyer belabored his point of teams needing to ensure that their quarterback will not stand alone in making a bad team good again. Washington’s case, specifically, is what concerned Meyer. After a tumultuous 2019 season that saw Haskins be a part of just two wins in seven starts, the path for his success in 2020 will not be so easy.
Luckily for Burrow, he shouldn’t expect congruent factors to impede his rookie season. Cincinnati’s head coach won’t be fired in the middle of this season, and he will not have to battle for the starting job with a veteran.
The Bengals made great strides this offseason in an effort to become a franchise capable of supporting a transcendent quarterback. Now, they need to sustain that effort for Burrow as he attempts to prove his worth.