The Cincinnati Bengals welcome quarterback Joe Burrow into the NFL fold after a rousing finish to the latter’s collegiate career. Can Burrow restore a once-proud roar in Cincinnati and become the first quarterback since Boomer Esiason in 1991 to lead the Bengals to a playoff win?
His rookie season could go a long way in determining what path the former LSU quarterback and the Bengals franchise may head down. Experts believe it may be a good one. According to sportsbettingdimes.com, Burrow has the best odds to become the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
It’s quite reasonable to understand why Burrow – the top draft pick in the 2020 NFL Draft – would be among the favorites. Over the past decade, quarterbacks have won five of the last 10 Offensive Rookie of the Year awards including Arizona’s Kyler Murray last season.
Despite having some tough competition for the award including from Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Burrow has some weapons around him that could make an award win a reality.
Versatile back Joe Mixon, returning but oft-injured star wide receiver A.J. Green, and the promising Tyler Boyd aim to get Burrow comfortable quickly.
While the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner threw for over 5,000 yards and for an incredible 60 touchdowns last season for LSU en route to the Tigers winning the BCS national championship, things will not come as easily in Cincinnati…at least right away.
Burrow steps into the shoes of longtime Cincy starter Andy Dalton, who led the Bengals to the playoffs five straight seasons from 2011 to 2015. Even though Dalton helped guide the Bengals offense to the playoffs, Cincinnati often fell flat in the postseason.
Last season, the 2-14 Bengals were a punchless bunch on offense and finished 30th in scoring (averaging a paltry 17 points per game). Meanwhile, they reside in one of the NFL’s most ferocious divisions – the AFC North. Home to Super Bowl-winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the on-again/off-again Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, the AFC North isn’t exactly light work. Ah yes, there is one other matter…the defending AFC North champion Baltimore Ravens, who are led by defending NFL MVP Lamar Jackson.
Burrow, a Ohio native, arrives on the scene to try to navigate these challenges and catapult Cincinnati back into national relevance for the first time since the late 80s.
Make no mistake about it. Even though the Bengals were a playoff fixture during the early 2010s, their lack of postseason appearances seemed to do very little to remove the feeling they were nothing more than a playoff placeholder.
For the first time Carson Palmer manned the Bengals offense in the mid-2000s, Burrow’s arrival marks the first time a Cincinnati quarterback feels like he has a chance to change the organization’s losing DNA. The talented passer and scrambler gives the Bengals a dimension and feeling they have lacked for a long time.
All Burrow has to do now is try to overcome numerous obstacles including a less than outstanding supporting cast, terrible recent history of failure for his new franchise, and one of the AFC’s most rugged divisions.
He may not be able to solve all of those challenges in his rookie season but Burrow promises to be one of the NFL’s most exciting players in 2020.