Early Monday morning, Mike Brown came out and supported his head coach, Zac Taylor.
Just a few hours later, Joe Burrow tweeted something eerily similar.
Let’s take a look at the two statements. Here’s Brown:
“We remain bullish on the foundation Zac is building, and we look forward to next year giving our fans the winning results we all want… We must capitalize on opportunities in front of us. Next year we will earn our stripes.” – Mike Brown— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 4, 2021
And here’s Burrow:
Couldn’t be more excited about the future of our organization. We have a great foundation and great people at the top. Look forward to giving the fans what they deserve. Also hopefully that’s the last time I ever have to watch a game on tv— Joey Burrow (@JoeyB) January 4, 2021
Burrow echoes Brown’s trust in the “foundation” the Bengals are building. That’s very careful language. It is essentially an admission that Taylor and the coaching staff have not gotten results so far. But there is something underneath what we see, a “winning culture” perhaps, that they are slowly developing in Cincinnati. It steers the conversation away from the team’s play and asks us to place blind trust in the future.
Brown then says that “... we look forward to next year giving our fans the winning results we all want.” Burrow says: “Look forward to giving the fans what they deserve.” In other words, they both want to tell fans: “We hear you and know how frustrated you are, but we’re working on it.”
It is impossible to ignore the similarities of the two short statements. At best, Burrow decided to toe the company line and select language that wouldn’t cause controversy, even though he agrees with the sentiment. (The final sentence about not watching a game on television again appears to be an attempt to lighten the mood, distinguish his speech from Brown’s ever-so slightly, and reinforce the previous statement by remind fans that he will soon be back and things will get better.) At worst, Burrow is - indeed - not happy with the results the team has gotten but knows that he is in no position to pass judgment on the coaching staff at this point in his career.
Then, on Thursday, Burrow sat down for an interview with Colin Cowherd. When asked if he hit it off with Taylor quickly or if it took time, Burrow said it was “immediate.” He then said:
“I think he is going to be a great coach for a long time. And I’m happy to be in the position 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.”
The phrase “it’s going to be on Zac’s back” seems to indicate that the coach will be expected to get it done in the near future. Yes, the QB is a big part of the rebuilding process, but without good coaching, it will be impossible to build something special on the aforementioned foundation.
John Sheeran and I discuss Burrow’s and Brown’s statements above and more in the video below:
You can also listen on iTunes or using the player below: