There is no doubt the Cincinnati Bengals have one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL with Joe Burrow. He has come into Cincinnati and entirely changed the feeling throughout the whole franchise.
While naysayers are quick to give quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Justin Herbert a nod over Burrow due to the difference in arm strength, the former Heisman Trophy winner has proven it is the things that don’t show up on a stat sheet or highlight reel that he excels in.
One of the big things is making checks at the line of scrimmage based on what Burrow is seeing. That isn’t something you typically see from a second year quarterback. During the playoffs we saw the natural progression of that when Burrow had to call plays during the two minute drill before the half due to communication issues with the headset. Now Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan is excited to make that a more official step this offseason.
“The next step is for Joe to take total command of the whole thing and he’s well on his way to doing that,” Callahan told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. “You want your quarterback to be an extension of the staff and to be able to go out there and call the plays and feel great about what he’s doing. Not that he calls every play, but that’s part of the process. I think he’s excited about having that kind of ownership and that kind of responsibility. You grow and build from there. The consistency over time is what you’re really looking for and he’s up to the challenge.”
For those who have been paying close attention, this step won’t surprise you. Burrow has consistently been ahead on everything since being drafted. Coaches even made comments during his rookie year that he was way farther ahead than everyone during zoom meeting installations of the offense.
Speaking of his unorthodox rookie season, it can not be understated how much of a feat it is that Burrow is this far along without having a normal offseason under his belt. His rookie year was rocked by COVID-19 and then the following offseason was spent rehabbing an ACL injury that he returned extraordinarily quickly from. That kind of football mind isn’t something you see too often. Not only is Burrow’s mind rare, but his coaching situation is also rare.
“Petty rare. Pretty rare. Not a lot of guys who have the ability to do it,” Callahan said. “And we trust him. That’s the best part of it. I trust Joe with everything he sees and how he sees it during the course of a game of what he likes and doesn’t like. Whenever he checks, we’re all for it. That’s a fun thing about continuity for all of us being together as long as we have being able to trust our guys. Everyone is on the same page all the time and that’s a lot of fun.
“Usually that’s something (that happens) five, six years in, but I think we all know Joe is a whole lot different than a lot of people.”
Burrow has been extremely lucky that the offensive coaches around him have not changed since coming into the league. It is even more rare that a team off a Super Bowl trip gets to retain most of their coaches. That sort of familiarity helps these kinds of progressions from a star quarterback develop quicker. He isn’t learning a new offense or play caller every other season. He knows how head coach Zac Taylor and Callahan run things, and they know that Burrow will excel with this new responsibility.