Two weeks ago, when the Bengals kicked off voluntary OTAs, quarterback Joe Burrow said he wanted to be 100% ready to go by the start of training camp in July. Burrow claimed he was at about 85% at that time, but signs point to him inching closer and closer to 100%.
Following Tuesday’s practice that kicked off the third week of OTAs, head coach Zac Taylor had to take note of how strong Burrow’s right arm is now.
“I think he can throw it 90 yards right now,” Taylor said, kiddingly. “It’s exciting. He looks really good. I know a lot’s been made about the arm strength and the velocity and all that, but he’s throwing the ball on time and where it needs to go and that’s what I’m pleased about.”
Burrow’s teammates started taking note his improved velocity last week, and with good reason. Burrow participating at all during these workouts is impressive enough considering the timeline of his recovery. That his velocity is notably improved is an unexpected cherry on top.
Tee Higgins, who is now at a playing weight of 220 pounds, has taken notice as well.
“When we first got back, he threw me a slant and I was like, ‘oh, sh*t!’” Higgins said. “I don’t know what he’s been doing this offseason since he’s been hurt, but he came back way stronger. The balls got a little bit more zip and they’re good.”
The slants have been a constant throughout the offseason program thus far. The down-the-field stuff, however, started being implemented this week. Per Taylor, it was time to test where Burrow and his receivers where with that part of the offense.
“That was part of our process was Week 3, let’s start pushing the ball down the field a little bit more,” Taylor said. “So now we’ve gotten a feel for everybody, so this week we wanted to get some of the timing and the landmarks down a little bit better. It’s one of the things we weren’t good enough at last year during the season. We didn’t connect on them all today, but you get a chance now to go back and watch the tape, talk about the landmarks, talk about the tempo, talk about the timing and make those corrections for later this week, next week. And then it’s good tape to teach off of when you come back to training camp.”
Before the Bengals get to training camp, they’ll practice two more times this week before next week’s minicamp practices.