Joe Burrow won’t get to officially work with his new Bengals teammates until late July but that shouldn’t hurt his rookie campaign too much.
How the NFL’s virtual offseason will impact the crop of 2020 rookie quarterbacks, especially Joe Burrow, has been a topic of conversation since the pandemic shut down team facilities in March. Operations have slowly started to reopen, but most players won’t be present until training camp starts in late July.
Unsurprisingly, Cincinnati’s coaches have sung Burrow’s praises throughout this unconventional offseason. Still, on the surface, it is logical to think that rookie quarterbacked teams like the Bengals might be at a bigger disadvantage by not having their players on the field in an official capacity until camp. But Burrow and the Bengals will be fine. At the very least, if the LSU product struggles as a rookie, it won’t be because of the pandemic affected offseason.
The 2011 Andy Dalton blueprint
The not too distant past of Bengals football proves this. When Andy Dalton and A.J. Green became Bengals during the 2011 NFL draft, the league was in a lockout thanks to a labor dispute. There were no Zoom meetings and coaches could not talk to players.
The lockout ended on July 25th, which is right around the time that the Bengals will report to camp this year. Dalton was a far less polished prospect than Burrow is and had a lot less proven talent around him.
Dalton surprised everyone by leading the Bengals to the playoffs and throwing 20 touchdown passes as a rookie. If Burrow does that, the city of Cincinnati will build him a statue.
The big takeaway is this: If Dalton can do what he did as a rookie, Burrow can do that and then some. There is also every chance Burrow struggles as a rookie. If he does, the virtual offseason hurting him will almost surely pop up. While seemingly rational, that narrative is not based in reality.