Bengals: 3 things to watch vs. the Vikings in Week 1
By Riley Thomas
3. Will Joe Burrow come out rusty?
Cincinnati fans are very anxious and excited to see Joe Burrow back this season. After missing a lot of time and learning to trust his knee following a devastating injury, the fact of the matter is that Burrow could come out rusty.
The Bengals’ offensive game plan should determine how Burrow begins the season-opener. If Cincinnati comes out running an air raid offense and consistently throws downfield, obviously Burrow could struggle a bit. Cincinnati should come out with play-calling that settles Burrow into the game.
The offensive line needs to come out and win the line of scrimmage so the Bengals can effectively run the ball. Following some successful runs, Burrow can be given some good play-action opportunities.
This makes winning the run game even more important for the Bengals, it will only help Burrow. Cincinnati can also come out and throw short and intermediate passes that put Burrow into the flow of things.
Tyler Boyd and C.J Uzomah can come out and be Burrow’s best friends. If he is consistently given short, easy, and wide-open throws to begin the game, Burrow is going to excel. He should be able to get back into the groove after this and could then start picking apart the Minnesota secondary with some deep shots.
The Bengals’ offense can not begin the game asking too much out of Burrow. It is unlikely he comes out and lights up the Viking defense immediately after sustaining such a serious knee injury. Is Burrow capable of coming out and having one heck of a game? For sure.
There’s little doubt about Burrow’s ability — He is a very talented quarterback that is capable of a lot. Burrow is not a superhuman though, many players come back from season-ending injuries and struggle a bit because they are simply a little rusty.
How Burrow looks out the gate will be a big piece of this game. Cincinnati can still win even if Burrow starts off slow, this can be achieved by implementing the right game plan.
Like almost any football game, there is a lot to look for and pay attention to in the Bengals’ showdown with the Vikings. If there are a handful of keys to the game, it could certainly be Cincinnati establishing a fearsome pass rush, winning the run game, and making sure Burrow is set up for success.
These are just a few things to watch when the Bengals host the Vikings this weekend.