Joe Burrow is receiving a ton of praise. Not like Bengals fans needed more reasons to believe in their franchise QB. Still, it is nice.
But, really, what does all this mean at this point in the offseason?
I decided to navigate the sea of recent statements about Burrow and evaluate their value.
What he said (via Bengals.com): “He’s a better player than I ever was. Already... He’s a much more accurate passer than I was. He’s also fearless. He’s not afraid to throw the ball down the field, which in today’s game is valuable and is going to help them be successful.
Analysis: Esiason won MVP as a part of the Bengals in 1988, the season he took Cincinnati to the Super Bowl. Clearly, he still cares very much about the team. That was evident when he presented Burrow with a Bengals helmet back in December of 2019, months before the 2020 Draft, when the Bengals selected the LSU standout.
Boomer Esiason presented Joe Burrow with a Bengals helmet when he visited The NFL Today.— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) December 15, 2019
Burrow's reaction: pic.twitter.com/eOu6ehNKOT
If we want to consider bias, there are two ways to go. If Burrow succeeds, so does the organization for which Esiason played, which would make the Bengals a first-rate organization and give his career a bit more validity.
On the other hand, if Burrow finishes the job that Esiason started and wins a championship, he will easily surpass Esiason on the all-time list of Cincinnati players. However, it is clear that he is not concerned about the latter at all.
Value: 7/10. Esiason was very specific and logical in his analysis of Burrow. The former Bengal was a special player, but more because of his ability to lead Sam Wyche’s offense than his exceptional accuracy. At the same time, saying that a second-year player is already better than a former MVP “ever was” is a bit of hyperbole.
What he said (via Bengals.com): “[Burrow is] the real deal... Obviously his physical skills are apparent. I’ve never met him, but I think his demeanor, his leadership, his poise are just outstanding in the way these guys follow him. He’s conscious of the community and he’s conscious of his position. He’s mature beyond his years... I just know he’s got what it takes. There’s not much you don’t like about him... From his poise, his accuracy, his arm strength, his delivery, his leadership. I think he’s the whole package.”
Analysis: Anderson, like Esiason, won MVP the year he took Cincinnati to the Super Bowl. If the Bengals win a championship and the narrative about the team changes, it may improve his chances of being inducted into the Hall of Fame, which he undoubtedly deserves. However, he has been consistent in his praise of Burrow. Over a year ago, he talked to us about the then-rookie’s poise and dedication to defeating hunger in his hometown of Athens.
Value: 8/10. Anderson was a QB coach and a brilliant mind on the field for the Bengals back in the 70s and 80s. So the man knows quarterback talent. Yes, he also praised Andy Dalton, but he was very accurate in doing so, acknowledging the former second round pick’s great achievement of taking his team to five straight playoff games. In short, Anderson does love Bengals quarterbacks but he also uses precise language.
What he said (on Good Morning Football): “That’s like baby Aaron [Rodgers]... You don’t see many rookies step into a locker room, and you can tell, you would think he’s a four-year vet if you didn’t know who he was. To have that at the quarterback position, that means he has the right type of savvy, the right type of poise that you only see from guys like Aaron. I’ve been saying this since I got there. I see a lot of similarities between the two. I’m just excited to be able to be a part of that, man. The kid’s got a lot to him. He’s got a lot of upside. He’s only going to get better. You talk to Who Dey nation, man, they’re gonna let you know. Joe Burrow is the savior, man! He really is to this organization.”
Analysis: Daniels played with Rodgers for seven years, so he has a good idea of who the Green Bay Packers quarterback is. He didn’t say Burrow has the same type of arm as Rodgers or anything unreasonable. Rather, he seems to be referencing the “swagger factor.” In that regard, it is a fair assessment. Further, he does not say Burrow has reached Rodgers’ level. Instead, he refers to him as “baby Aaron,” suggesting that with good parenting (from Zac Taylor and Brian Callahan) and a safe environment (o-line protection) he can grow up to be like Rodgers.
Value: 8/10. Daniels is mostly speaking about Burrow’s potential, his “upside.” He talks about the QB’s advanced development, but only to the degree of being a four-year vet, not a Hall of Famer. The only thing bringing down the value of his statement is the fact that he is currently Burrow’s teammate, which means he has a lot invested in him; Daniels wants Burrow to be the next Rodgers very, very much because it could mean he ends up a champion as well. Also, Daniels use of the term “savior” in the present tense detracts from the objectivity of his statement; instead of providing mere analysis, he ventures into the realm of fandom.
What he said (on ESPN’s Get Up): ““We don’t know if Joe Burrow reaches that point [Hall of Fame], but some of the intangibles, some of the things he has inside, some of the ways he thinks, he feels about himself, his love for the game is on that Hall of Fame level at a very young age. This was the dude that was beyond mature when it came to being a quarterback at LSU. A dude that would sit by himself in the cafeteria because he wanted to study. You can’t teach that. You can’t teach that level of want to win. And so, in that sense, Aaron Rodgers may not even be as special as Joe Burrow is when it comes to some of those things.”
Analysis: Clark was responding to Daniels’ comments above. He began by clarifying that Burrow does not approach Rodgers’ arm talent, and it was only when Patrick Mahomes exploded onto the scene that we saw something similar to Green Bay’s future Hall of Famer. He then discussed how confident and borderline arrogant Burrow was his junior year at LSU, which Clark, a former Tiger, did not appreciate. The next year, though, Burrow justified that attitude. For Clark, that confidence and desire to win are what make Burrow special. In that sense, the Bengals QB may have even greater intangibles than Rodgers.
Value: 9/10. Yes, Clark is an LSU alum. But he played for the Pittsburgh Steelers. So those two biases basically cancel each other out. The rest of his analysis is spot-on. Burrow doesn’t have Rodgers’ arm, but he could very well have more of the Tom Brady type of leadership that really matters in the playoffs.
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