What Joe Burrow needs to adjust coming out of the BYE week
By Josh Miller
Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals will be entering one of the most important games this Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders. Finding themselves at 5-4 and in the thick of the playoffs, the Bengals need their stars to shine the brightest down the stretch in order to secure a playoff spot.
There is no brighter star than the one under center. Joe Burrow has created some magical plays and defining moments in his shockingly young Bengals tenure. However, you are being fair if you are criticizing his play over the past few weeks.
All of Cincinnati truly believes he is the “savior” or the franchise; Joe Burrow has had some lapses in perfection. This is okay and we have to remember that Burrow has barely played over a full season in the NFL. He will be a top-five quarterback in the NFL in due time.
In order to get to that point, Joe Burrow needs to begin to correct the mistakes that he has committed recently.
This team is in the perfect position to make a run to the playoffs. They are 5-4 with a 2-1 record inside of the AFC North. While the first seven weeks of the season have been nothing short of a dream start, the following two weeks have been an utter disappointment. How this Bengals team responds to a two-game losing skid off of the BYE is going to set the precedent for the remainder of the season.
One part of the game that Burrow needs to get control of his interceptions, as he is currently tied for first in the NFL with 11 interceptions. While some of these can be chalked up to factors outside of his control (playcalling, dropped balls, great plays by the defense, etc) the number of interceptions is far too high.
One thing that we learned from these last two losses is that this team isn’t good enough to win if Burrow has a bad game. You could argue that Burrow had a subpar game in the win against the Jaguars. My refute to that would be that the comeback does not happen unless Burrow picks his you-know-what up and lives up to that affection nickname we all gave him.
Burrow has to find a way to limit the interceptions. One theory that I have about why he throws so many is because he takes chances. Joey Franchise likes to throw into incredibly tight windows. This has resulted in many magical moments, but it has also resulted in really bad spots for the defense. The late interception against the Jets and the entirety of the game against the Bears come to mind.
If he can control his shot plays, and take them when they are open, this team can go incredibly far. Joe can also control his interceptions by using more options other than Ja’Marr Chase. It seems as though Chase has become Burrow’s ultimate bailout, and he forces the ball too often to him.
Share The Wealth
There is no doubt that the Bengals receiving core is incredibly enviable. However, it seems as though the usage of each receiver seems to be inadequate.
While you’ve seen Tee Higgins begin to receive more targets and catches, Tyler Boyd seems to still be underused. The man that received the nickname “Mr. Third Down” has only been targeted 55 times, according to Fantasy Pros. This averages out to only 6.1 targets per game.
Zac Taylor and Joe Burrow need to work on a game plan that gets the ball in Boyd’s hands more often. They especially need to start using Boyd on third downs. For every year that Boyd has been in Cincinnati, he has been the go-to target on third down. Burrow needs to scan the field more in the pocket and find a way to get Boyd the ball. At the end of the day, Burrow just needs to be Burrow.
Back to Being Burrow
At the end of the day, we know what exactly Joe Burrow can be. He plays his best ball when he is confident in himself. He doesn’t need to make any massive changes, he just needs to go out there and be him.
When he plays at an elite level, elevates everyone around him. He’s elevating the team to exceed expectations. Now, he needs to get back to being Joe Burrow. If he does this, this team can go exponentially far.