Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow isn’t off to a great start. Turnovers, sacks and pressure in the pocket are all things that seem to have kept Burrow and the offense as a whole stuck in a rut to begin the season. There has been talk about the offensive line, Burrow’s pocket presence and the speed in which Burrow is getting rid of the ball. In reality, all of these things are factors that need to be addressed. Simply put, Burrow is getting hit far too much, regardless of who is to blame.
Another quarterback, who faced his share of contact in the NFL, has weighed in on Burrow and ways he thinks things can improve for the third-year signal caller. David Carr is no stranger to being sacked. In Carr’s rookie year, he was sacked 76 times and the Houston Texans struggled to keep him upright for the remainder of his tenure. With many drawing the comparison between Burrow and Carr, it makes sense that the former first-overall pick would weigh in.
“To fix their offensive woes, the Bengals must start helping Burrow out by moving the pocket. The easiest way to do that is through play-action, but this is something the Bengals use very little of. Burrow has used play-action on only 13.7 percent of his dropbacks this season, fifth-lowest in the NFL, per Next Gen Stats. Last year, his play-action rate was 18.7 percent, fourth-lowest league-wide,” said Carr.
Play-action is an element that we just haven’t seen a ton of in Zac Taylor’s offense. With Taylor finding himself under the microscope early, you have to wonder if it is an element he tries to implement going forward. Granted, play-action works best when you have a real threat of a running game, somewhere else the Bengals are struggling to get going.
“It’s not as simple as asking Burrow to get rid of the ball faster either, as Carr details: “And anyone wanting to argue Burrow is holding the ball too long should consider his average time-to-throw mark (2.58 seconds) is seventh-quickest in the league this season,” Carr said.
Carr has been there, done that. He has a great football mind. These are things to watch for as the season progresses. If play-action can get established and the pocket moves for Burrow, we may see shades of the high-powered offense of 2021 start to appear.
Whether it is the line, Burrow, scheme or any other factor, the Bengals need to figure it out... quickly.