The Cincinnati Bengals didn’t hesitate in using their first-overall pick on LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who was coming off of a historically great final college season that saw him set records amid an undefeated championship season. By then they had already moved on from Andy Dalton, who had been their starter since 2011.
They were all in on Burrow, regardless of the fact that they knew the offseason would in some way be abbreviated and would affect his ability to be effective for his team right out of the gate. Surely they didn’t know how much of the offseason would be truncated or changed thanks to the coronavirus.
But as with every other team, they have no other option than to make the best of it, and they feel that they have done that with the time they have been allotted to work with Burrow virtually and to get him prepared to be the man under center for them when the regular season, hopefully, kicks off in September.
“As advertised is the best way to put it”, second-year head coach Zac Taylor said of his new quarterback, via Sports Illustrated. “You can tell he spends a lot of time on his own being prepared with questions and he’s doing a great job taking ownership, which is important for a quarterback to do, and he’s doing everything he can to own this offense. Been really impressed with him, but not surprised”.
They spent time this offseason getting him help, using their second-round pick to draft wide receiver Tee Higgins. He joins a returning A.J. Green, in addition to Tyler Boyd and John Ross at wide receiver to round out the top of the depth chart.
Of course, they also expect to get Jonah Williams back. He was the first draft pick Taylor ever made, last year, and is expected to be their franchise left tackle, but he suffered an injury in the offseason and missed the entire year. Meanwhile, Fred Johnson is in the running to start at right tackle.
“We’d make a 20-play cutup, create a script off that cutup, and initially I’d just call a play out loud, so everybody could hear me, the quarterback could repeat, and call the cadence”, Taylor said. “And we’d just go through, ‘O.K., center, Trey Hopkins, make the initial call here.’ And we’d be showing a clip from the end zone view, and he’d make his call, the appropriate linebacker. Then, ‘O.K., right tackle, who do you got? O.K., quarterback, any checks? No? O.K., call the cadence’”, and he would do it, and they would move on to the next play, Taylor said.
That’s a limited substitute for the real thing, but of course it’s all they can do right now. Training camps open in a few weeks, and it will be at that point that they will get his first look at him. Taylor has already said, as should be no surprise, that he’s getting the first snaps.