The Bengals shouldn’t hesitate to pull Joe Burrow on Sunday
The Cincinnati Bengals shouldn’t hesitate to pull Joe Burrow from the lineup on Sunday if the offensive line proves overmatched.
It’s no secret that Joe Burrow has taken an unnecessary amount of hits this season. Playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league and utilizing an aggressive play style was always going to ensure the LSU product hit the dirt often. However, the situation could easily reach a critical level on Sunday as the Cincinnati Bengals face off against the Tennessee Titans.
Burrow is slated to be without three of his starting offensive linemen; left tackle Jonah Williams, right tackle Bobby Hart, and center Trey Hopkins. Filling in for the trio is rookie Hakeem Adeniji, former undrafted free-agent Fred Johnson, and disappointing first-round pick Billy Price. Although Adeniji and Johnson offer plenty of promise, it’s far from an ideal situation.
In defense of the backup linemen, they stepped up admirably last week against the Cleveland Browns. The offense barely missed a beat despite losing so many guys in the trenches.
However, it’s one thing to come in and finish a game and another thing entirely to perform up to par when an opposing defensive coordinator has an entire week to prepare to exploit weaknesses. Fans can rest assured that the well-coached Titans will throw the kitchen sink at the injury-riddled offensive line.
If things start to get ugly, and there’s a fair chance they will, the Bengals shouldn’t hesitate to pull Joe Burrow to secure both the franchise and young signal-caller’s future.
Reinforcements are on the way for the Bengals
Further adding to the logic behind quickly pulling Burrow if he begins taking too many hits are the guys on the horizon set to provide reinforcements. The club just signed guard Quinton Spain, a former starter for the Buffalo Bills. Not to mention, they traded for swing interior lineman B.J. Finney. Although Finney has been a career backup, in Cincinnati, he could potentially provide an upgrade.
All of this before getting to the guys set to return from injury. With a bye coming after this week’s contest, you have to think guys like Williams, Hopkins, and potentially even Xavier Su’a-Filo will be ready to suit up the next time the Bengals take the field.
Surely with all of those players, the coaching staff can find some combination that can resemble a competent line. If they do, there’s a shot Cincinnati can build some real momentum down the stretch behind Burrow’s stardom and a weak slate to end the season.
There’s no point in risking the health of a superstar like Burrow just to stay competitive in one game. Winning should always be the priority, but protecting the franchise cornerstone will secure far more victories in the long-term.