Every Bengals fan may not like the team’s “striped B” logo, but in a way, it’s almost symbolic for whom the franchise’s two best players are.
The NFL world already knows a lot about Joe Burrow. It could use some more insight about Burrow’s teammate, Jessie Bates III. Bates’ third year in the league should’ve ended with a Pro Bowl selection and first-team All-Pro honors. The Bengals’ 4-11-1 final record all but shut the doors on those accomplishments, but things could’ve been different had Bates’ quarterback made it through the whole season healthy.
During a recent interview on the Jim Rome Show, Bates provided a lengthy answer to why he believes Burrow is special.
“I would say his demeanor,” Bates said. “How he just comes into work. Burrow did a really good job of just coming in and gaining the respect of not just the coaches, but the players in the locker room as well. I’m pretty sure every guy on the offensive side during training camp was like ‘hey, we got a decent dude over here.’ All our defensive guys where just talking stuff like ‘we’ll see during training camp.’ In that short period of time throughout training camp I just saw how prepared he was mentally and physically. The way he was just getting through his progressions and stuff like that. And last thing is obviously his confidence is out the roof. And there’s a reason why it’s like that. It’s because of his preparation and where he’s come from, in Ohio, as well. He’s a very gritty guy. I’m in love with him for sure.”
Burrow might be the leader of the locker room and the captain of the offense already, but Bates will likely ascend to that role on defense this upcoming season. He is the first Bengal to make an AP All-Pro team since 2015, and not by accident.
“I think I reached a different level of my game,” Bates said of his impressive 2020 season. “Being able to slow the game down and just see what the offense is giving us as a defense. Whether that’s just formations, seeing stuff that shows up every week, being able to just see it and execute as a defense is kind of where I stepped my game up.”
The front office certainly saw that growth firsthand and will be drafting a contract extension for him to sign before the 2021 season begins. Burrow and Bates together for the long-term is critical for Cincinnati’s long-term success.