At first glance, the Bengals reuniting Thaddeus Moss and Ja’Marr Chase with Joe Burrow was thought to primarily benefit Moss and Chase. Two young pass-catchers can start their careers with the quarterback they popped off with in college. What better situation could they ask for?
Little did we know how much Burrow needed both of them, especially Moss.
Burrow was medically cleared to play at the start of training camp, but it took a little time for him to truly become the quarterback he was before. There was a stretch at the beginning of camp where he looked a bit uncomfortable in the pocket and wasn’t hitting throws he normally would’ve.
Some attributed this to physical rust, Moss thought otherwise. He approached Burrow, his teammate and close friend from LSU, and managed to spur No. 9 back to being the vocal leader he used to be.
“He just asked me why I wasn’t speaking up like I used to,” Burrow told reporters. “I was like, ‘You know what? You’re right.’ Why am I not doing that? I realized that… when I’m more vocal, it kind of gets me into a rhythm and I stop thinking about what I have to do, and I start thinking about what everybody else has to do. It reverts back to muscle memory. I think that played a part in me starting to play really well.”
Confidence has never seemed to be in short supply for Burrow, but he also never had to come back from such a brutal injury before as a starter. Moss and Chase saw him at his best a couple of years ago in Baton Rouge. They know how he operates when things are clicking. It just took the care of a friend to flip that switch for him.
“Joe had powerful words when he was at LSU his last year,” Chase said. “I don’t know if it was from the hit or wanting to be better, I definitely noticed once when we got here, he wasn’t so vocal about the offense yet. And Thad told him.”
Unlike Chase, Moss did not make the final roster, but the club did manage to sign him for their practice squad. Moss is a talented receiving tight end, but the personal connection he has to the franchise quarterback has definitely shown its value now.
Burrow’s been clicking over the last month of practice. In just a few days, we’ll see how much that progress manifests in the regular season.