In what is probably the least surprising news you’ll read all week, former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is leaving a lasting impression on his Cincinnati Bengals teammates with his strong work ethic.
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor has raved all offseason about his new franchise quarterback, telling Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer he's been "as advertised." In a recent interview with The Athletic, offensive coordinator Brian Callahan says Burrow has been “so far ahead” that the coaches have asked him to slow down a bit.
"Sometimes he would say things early on and I’d say, we are not talking about that right now, let’s just get through what we need to get through here and then we can revisit that later," Callahan told writer Paul Dehner. "We will probably answer that question you have in a day or two days or three days because we are not there yet. I know you are, but we’re not.”
Now it seems Burrow’s dedication is starting to grab the attention of his teammates. Callahan told Bengals.com writer Geoff Hobson that Burrow has embraced the offense and taken his preparation to the max since those early zoom calls that were spent getting to know him.
“The guys see his preparation and work ethic. His knowledge of an offense that he’s new to, that always grabs people’s attention,” Callahan said. “When they come in and know what to say and how to do it and all the things that are required of a quarterback in an NFL offense, he’s exemplified all these things and that gets everyone’s attention first. Plus, his past precedes him. He’s got some pelts on the wall and these guys see all that.”
Of course, this is nothing new for LSU fans to hear. One of the qualities that made Burrow such a hit early on in his career with the Tigers was that work ethic.
The offseason before the 2019 season in particular, Burrow talked numerous times about the weight he dropped and the reps he put in with his receivers.
His development at the quarterback position was key as well, as he talked about his improvements in progression reads and off platform throws.
“I was working a lot on off platform throws this summer and manipulating the pocket and as soon as the guy comes open, I can get my feet set a lot quicker than I could last year,” Burrow said after the Texas game.
“I worked really hard this offseason and it's starting to show up. I think you really saw it on the 3rd-and-17 at Texas. I was in the air, hips this way, and threw it 20 yards on a dime. It was just kind of a culmination of all my hard work this offseason.”
That Texas 3rd-and-17 was of course the first in what would become many moments of greatness from Burrow last year. Now the Bengals rookie quarterback will look to pull an NFL franchise out of the gutter and into a perennial contender.