He may be 0-2 (or as we say here in Louisiana Eaux-2) but those are not the most important numbers for LSU alumnus Joe Burrow, whose first two games in the NFL showed great promise despite losing both games.
The hardest decision for an owner or GM in selecting a quarterback is to whom can they entrust the future of the team. Here’s a look at other two-game starts for some of the top quarterbacks of all time to help judge Burrow’s fast start in historic terms.
The last franchise that saw a complete return on its investment was the Indianapolis Colts. In 1998 the Colts took New Orleans, Louisiana native Peyton Manning. Interestingly Manning got off to a slower start than Burrow has as he led all QBs in the NFL in picks his first season but had a different type of composure.
Manning’s focus and calm under pressure and under center were one of his best attributes as a player. Very few QBs are able to be composed and confident from the jump of their NFL careers. Which leaves the biggest question for the Cincinnati Bengals, is Joe Burrow going to have the same type of career success that came to Manning?
Joe Burrow in just two career NFL starts has shown the capability to be composed and be able to read his progressions. Burrow’s last start against the Cleveland Browns showed that he can be composed when the pocket collapses. He threw his first career TD pass under pressure to C.J. Uzomah and finished with 316 yards on 37-of-61 passing, with three touchdowns.
The most impressive throw Burrow has had so far in his career was the last TD pass to Tyler Boyd in the fourth quarter. Burrow stepped up in a collapsing pocket and made a veteran throw to Boyd. That play right there showed that Burrow can be entrusted with the future of the Bengals.
In Manning's first two games he had 490 yards on 42-of-70 completions, with two touchdowns. Through two weeks in 2020, Burrow has racked up 509 yards on 60-of-97 passing, with four total touchdowns. Burrow has a bright future as long as he stays poised and confident.
Yet, there are some factors that might come in play for Burrow as he tries to run the future of the Bengals.
1. Burrow must learn that when the pocket collapses he must start to learn to slide. The NFL defensive players are completely different than college. He’s taking far too many hits in the pocket as it is and doesn’t need to tack on further damage when running down field.
“You push your body to the limit but you have to train your body to deal with the limits,” six time champion quarterback Tom Brady says.
2. Making sure that you go through all your progressions before releasing the ball. The 2012 NFL QB class proved why reading progressions is crucial. Russell Wilson is a perfect example that Burrow should emulate as Burrow is mobile but needs to be smart when running. Otherwise, Burrow could end up hurt like Robert Griffin III.
3. Burrow must stay confident in his game to succeed and reach his full potential, which requires a different type of composure.
It’s only been two games and the early success on the field hasn’t translated to wins yet. But when you’re the No. 1 overall pick, you’re not expected to completely change the direction of the franchise in year one.
You’re asked to put your team in a position to win games in the fourth quarter and that’s exactly what Burrow has done through two weeks of his NFL career.