The Cincinnati Bengals are merely days away from the start of free agency kicking off. Cincinnati should be adding plenty of talent via that phase of the offseason and the draft, but head coach Zac Taylor gave some quick updates on two key players already on the roster.
First, Taylor was quick to say that quarterback Joe Burrow is still on track recovering from the ACL injury he suffered last season. Taylor said Burrow is “on pace to do all the things we’re hoping he would do. He’s doing really well.”
Burrow is the centerpiece of this team’s present and future and the quicker he is able to get back on the field the better this team will be. Bengals’ director of player personnel Duke Tobin even referred to Burrow being at the center of what they hope to build this offseason.
One of the biggest things the Bengals need to accomplish to help their young franchise quarterback come back to a better situation than he left is to improve the offensive line. There will likely be plenty of new names on the line next season, but one we shouldn’t expect to change is Jonah Williams, who the team drafted in the first round in 2019. Taylor also doesn’t think his young tackle will be moving anywhere else on the line.
“I thought he made improvements in the games he got to play,” Taylor said. “I’m comfortable with Jonah at left tackle. I think he’s really shown improvements there from game to game and we’re excited to get him back there at that piece.”
There is no reason to say that Williams would be moving at this point. The Bengals will likely bring in an offensive tackle in free agency and/or the draft. They have commonly been connected to Penei Sewell, the Oregon tackle, with the fifth pick in this years draft, but there is no reason to think that Williams would be moving for a rookie who didn’t play all of last season, and it wouldn’t do any good to reveal plans to replace that position.
Williams improved throughout the season before suffering an injury late in the season. He missed all of his rookie season, so it was the first time we really saw the talented Alabama product.
The last part of the quote does leave the door open for movement to be made, but the only real reason that would happen is an established veteran tackle coming in, which is very unlikely. Williams would likely start at left tackle over any rookie considering he knows the offense, and there will be plenty of pressure on that position to protect a likely less than 100 percent Burrow.
It is great to hear the head coach has confident in these two young players who should provide a foundation for years to come on the offensive side of the ball. It will be more interesting to see how the team adds talent around them starting in a few days.