It’s safe to say that Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow “arrived” in 2021.
Burrow had an injury-shortened rookie season in 2020, thanks to a torn ACL he suffered against the Washington Commanders.
This past season, however, saw Burrow deliver on the hype that surrounded him as the No. 1 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Burrow passed for 4,611 yards (sixth-most in the NFL last season) and 34 touchdowns (against 14 interceptions) while completing over 70 percent of his passes.
The former LSU star also led the Bengals to the Super Bowl last season. Reaching a Super Bowl is always impressive, but it’s even more remarkable when it comes on the heels of a four-win season.
The scary thing about Burrow is that despite his success last season, he probably hasn’t even scratched the surface of how good he can be.
WNKY’s Patrick Carey pointed out this week that Burrow will face something this year that he hasn’t faced yet in the NFL.
A normal offseason.
Seeing the AFC Champs back in the building has me remembering that this is the first “normal” offseason of Joe Burrow’s career.— Patrick Carey (@PatCareySports) May 2, 2022
No rehab, no restrictions, just the CPOY getting even better.
Which is scary. pic.twitter.com/vqzR9st45Z
Two years ago, Burrow’s first offseason was essentially non-existent thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual meetings replaced on-field work. Relationships were built through FaceTime calls instead of in-person banter. It was far from an ideal scenario for a rookie quarterback who was drafted to be the day one starter for a down-on-its-luck franchise.
The next offseason wasn’t much better, as Burrow spent the majority of the winter/spring rehabbing from the torn ACL that shortened his rookie season.
This year will be the first time that Burrow has ever been able to go through a full/normal offseason in the NFL. That should translate to an even better season for Burrow, a quarterback that’s already being compared to the legendary Tom Brady.
Instead of practicing on random fields close to his childhood home, or focusing on rehabbing his knee, Burrow will be able to place his full attention on refining his skills, improving his chemistry with teammates, and mastering the offense.
The Bengals’ greatly improved their roster this offseason and they had a great draft. When you combine those elements of the offseason with a focused Joe Burrow, it’s bad news for the rest of the AFC.
Featured image via Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports