Bengals rookie Ja’Marr Chase saw firsthand how Joe Burrow transformed himself into the quarterback he is today.
After spending a year apart, the duo has been reunited in Cincinnati to pick up where they left off at LSU. But there are hurdles to overcome.
For Chase, it’s knocking off the rust from sitting out the 2020 season. The fifth-overall pick talked about doing just that before Wednesday’s practice.
Burrow has dealt with some mental rust as well. He’s been practicing in pads for the first time since before last Thanksgiving. It took a few days, but Chase has seen signs of the Burrow he’s known for the last few years.
“I can see his confidence is growing bigger, just by him taking off out of the pocket. I’ve definitely seen that,” Chase said. “So that’s exciting to see from Joe Burrow. His passes, him talking to me again, talking to the whole offense, opening up a little more now, I feel like he’s more confident in himself now. Not saying he wasn’t confident, but much more confident than he had been, just coming off the injury and you know, just being himself and feeling comfortable.”
Confidence might be Burrow’s most dominant attribute, so seeing him go through a re-adjustment period early on in training camp was a little disconcerting. It essentially proved that he’s just as human as the rest of us mere plebeians.
The more reps No. 9 gets under center, the more prepared he’ll be in a month’s time against the Minnesota Vikings. This has sparked the debate on whether or not Burrow should play in the preseason.
If the Bengals can keep Burrow clean for a few series this month, he’d have the appropriate amount of in-game exposure before playing for real. There’s an inescapable risk vs. reward aspect to it, though, and the risk may be too great to put him out there before it becomes necessary.
That said, Chase has seen Burrow at his best. If he thinks there has been progress, then his word should be taken at full value.