Cincinnati Bengals: Don’t expect a perfect transition from Joe Burrow
By Alex Austin
Joe Burrow has a lot of hype surrounding him as the leader of the Cincinnati Bengals but he may be in for a harder first year than people realize.
While many believe Joe Burrow will hit the ground running, the simple truth is, there’s a good chance he struggles to begin his career with the Cincinnati Bengals. This may be a very unpopular take right now, but it’s important to temper expectations, especially around rookie quarterbacks.
Before you grab your pitchforks, Joe Burrow is a good quarterback, nobody is disputing that. He was undeniably one of the best three players coming out of college last year. And he was easily the best quarterback prospect.
He has the potential to turn around this franchise. There are a lot of good pieces scattered throughout the Bengals’ roster, and with the front office diving into free agency for the first time, things are looking up.
The defense should be a much-improved unit, and there are some exciting young players on the offensive side of the ball that will hopefully remain in Cincinnati for years to come. There is, however, one unit that was largely unchanged over the course of the off-season: The offensive line.
The offensive line is still a question mark
The offensive trenches have been a rather bad unit for a few years now and Pro Football Focus ranked the Bengals as the 3rd worst offensive line in 2019. Adding Jonah Williams is a huge addition to the position group, but that is pretty much all that was done to upgrade an area that was among the worst in the NFL.
The lack of talent will make it harder to get the run game going, which could spell disaster for Cincinnati’s new man under center. Plus, Burrow will have less time to make reads, something he didn’t have to worry about as much at LSU. This is in part because of the questionable offensive line placed in front of him, but also the higher level of talent he’ll be facing off against.
A lack of reps with the offensive could also come into play as well. If the offseason program is shortened even more than it already has been, Burrow could have to use the opening games of the regular season to get in rhythm with his skill players on offense.
Joe Burrow won’t be a terrible player in his first year in Cincinnati, but it’s bold thinking to suggest he will be a top ten fantasy quarterback.