Joe Burrow quickly achieved a career change goal that will make him a nightmare to stop
Despite becoming No.1 in the 2020 NFL Draft, Joe Burrow still entered the league as an imperfect prospect. Of course, he ticked more boxes than almost every other player in his draft class. But even the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner joined the Cincinnati Bengals with the need to improve in a few areas.
Unfortunately for the rest of the NFL, Burrow has achieved an important goal that should see him succeed for years to come. And if the talented quarterback stays healthy and takes his game to another level, the Bengals could be fighting for a playoff berth sooner than expected.
Joe Burrow has had its ups and downs in his first year with the Bengals
Ahead of the 2019 college football season, nobody mentioned Burrow as a potential first draft pick. Widely regarded as an end-of-round prospect, he forced the scouts and general managers of the NFL to abandon any preconceptions about his future in professional football. Burrow looked like a whole different player exploiting Joe Brady’s spread-focused system. Showing excellent pocket presence, good decision-making skills, extreme precision and impressive maturity and leadership qualities, he proved worthy of becoming No.1 overall. .
Landing with the Bengals, Burrow became the new face of a franchise that was in desperate need of a real star. And it didn’t take long for the talented flagman to show why Cincinnati finally unplugged Andy Dalton.
Burrow passed 300 passing yards in three of his first four games as a Bengal, and he looked like a rock-solid contender to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. However, he had fragile performances against the Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers which included a total of a touchdown. Then, in a cruel twist of fate, Burrow tore his ACL against the Washington soccer team in Week 11.
The former LSU star ended his rookie year with 2,688 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and a 65.3 percent completion rate. He also totaled 142 yards and three touchdowns as a runner. Burrow definitely improved the offense, but he failed to find much success in a critical area as a passer. And that’s exactly why he’s spent the offseason working to fix a flaw in his game.
Burrow has hit a career change goal this offseason that will make him even more dangerous
The Bengals drafted Burrow in part because of his high character and strong work ethic. So after struggling to hit deep throws as a rookie (he made 9 of 46 attempts at more than 20 aerial yards, according to Next Generation stats), it shouldn’t be surprising that the young quarterback -rear has spent the last few months making sure that this will not happen again. And based on the latest update from Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, it’s clear that Burrow has achieved his offseason goal of becoming a more explosive pitcher.
“He had one goal in mind: how he wanted to change his throwing movement and his mechanics – I shouldn’t say the movement. But some of his footwork and his position and how he was going to gain speed on the ball and all that stuff, ”Callahan said at his press conference on Wednesday. “And I think he did. I noticed that. He throws the ball with a little more velocity. Maybe that allows him to hang on to the ball for an extra fraction of a second and be able to step into a window a little later than he did a year ago. I think all of these things are positive.
Better arm strength should give Burrow the ability to make an even bigger impact in the future. He’s already got the mental makeup to live up to the “franchise district” label, and any progress he makes physically will only put him in a better position to carve out his defenses. With improved footwork, hip strength, and mechanics, it’s scary to think how much better Burrow will be in his second season, let alone in a few years.
Can the young quarterback lead the Bengals to their first playoff birth since 2015?
As long as Burrow doesn’t suffer any setbacks with his surgically repaired knee, the Bengals have a chance to rack up big points this season. In fact, don’t be shocked if Cincinnati takes a substantial leap forward on this side of the ball.
As well as getting Burrow back, the Bengals also have another key player returning from a serious injury: Jonah Williams. The 2019 first-round pick didn’t play a single snap as a rookie due to a shoulder problem, and he ended the 2020 season on the injured list with a knee injury . Williams needs to stay healthy and lock in the left tackle position for the attack to live up to its potential. Luckily for the Bengals, he has the talent to make it happen.
While the offensive line remains a work in progress, the Bengals should have confidence in their other projected starters. Ja’Marr Chase is expected to excel as Burrow’s new No.1 target. After all, he’s already shown tremendous chemistry with him at LSU. Additionally, veteran Tyler Boyd and 2020 second-round pick Tee Higgins bring different skills to the mix at the receiver. Meanwhile, Joe Mixon has a knack for dealing significant damage as a runner and wide receiver.
The Burrow-led Bengals have the advantage of finishing among the top 10 scorers. But will that be enough to bring the team back to the playoffs? Cincinnati’s defense features some intriguing players, but the unit lacks top-notch talent. It will take a bit of magic on Burrow and on offense (on a consistent basis) for the Bengals to make up for their defensive shortcomings.
Based on his story, however, it wouldn’t be smart to bet against him.
RELATED: Von Miller Gave The Patriots A Priceless Gift That Could Pay Big Dividends For Years To Come