In an offseason that still holds uncertainty, the Cincinnati Bengals have come up with a creative plan to prepare Joe Burrow.
The 2020 season has to be one of the worst to welcome a new franchise quarterback. Much of the offseason was canceled and now teams find themselves working entirely virtually, with no word of when they can run in-person practices. Yet, Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals are making the best of it.
According to ESPN’s Ben Baby, offensive coordinator Brian Callahan has a system set up to allow Burrow to call a play, diagnose a defensive front, and make the required pre-snap adjustments over a conference call with the offense. This will allow Burrow to practice the wording of the Bengals’ system if it differs from that of his vocabulary while at LSU. It will also allow his teammates to get used to how he operates.
It’s a smart plan and one of the best possible routes to take, given the circumstances. But even Callahan doesn’t seem thrilled with the prospect of it,
"“It remains to be seen how effective that will be, but it’s better than not doing it.”"
If that sounds discomforting, keep in mind there are a larger number of franchises set to welcome a new signal-caller in the upcoming campaign than usual.
Of course, there is the handful full of teams that drafted a quarterback high in the draft, but free agency saw a number of players at the position switch teams. Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Teddy Bridgewater, and others may be forced to learn new verbiage with their new teams. At the very least, their teammates will have to adjust to how they operate.
The Bengals aren’t alone in this regard, somewhat leveling the playing field. But you have to imagine teams that are returning a veteran quarterback with roughly the same core players around him have a leg up.
This isn’t the Bengals’ first rodeo
Thankfully for the Cincinnati organization, this kind of scenario isn’t entirely uncharted waters. Fans are all too familiar with the 2011 lockout season, where the Bengals welcomed Andy Dalton to take the reigns of the franchise. An agreement wasn’t met between the NFL and the player association until July 25th that year, severely impacting Dalton’s ability to prepare for his foray into the league.
The Bengals still managed to net nine wins and reach the postseason. If they could do it then, they can certainly do it now, especially with the expanded playoff format.
Only time will tell if the Bengals young coaching regime will successfully be able to overcome the hurdles presented to them. Zac Taylor has long preached that what his staff lacks in experience, they make up for in innovation. If that holds true, Joe Burrow and the Bengals could find themselves with an unexpected advantage.