As Joe Burrow prepares for his first playoff run with the Cincinnati Bengals, his calm, cool demeanor continues to keep him ready for this moment.
Alongside former LSU teammate, and AP Offensive Rookie of the Year front-runner Ja’Marr Chase, the two will look to carry their regular season success into their Wild Card matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Keeping Burrow’s jersey clean Saturday afternoon should be priority No. 1 in the opening round, but buying time in the pocket and allowing his playmakers to get to their spots is also of the utmost importance for Cincinnati. Burrow knows how lethal his weapons are offensively and keeping the flow of the offense rolling against the Raiders is a surefire way to put themselves in position to win.
With the arsenal of talent around him and composed mentality Burrow attains, he feels ready for his playoff debut.
"I've got great people around me and great coaches that prepare me for the moment and just staying even-keeled through the ups and the downs throughout the game," Burrow said. "Don't get too excited, don't get too down on yourself when you make a mistake. Just play this game like you have all year and we'll get the job done."
After a week off to rest and start preparing for the postseason, it was a bit different than what Burrow is accustom to. A gritty guy who plays until he simply can’t anymore, taking the week off to rest up and get his knee back to 100% was a change of scenery for the gunslinger.
“Physically it was good,” Burrow said of his off week. “Mentally it was a little weird not being with everybody. But it was a good little break. Ready to be back at it.”
The second-year quarterback is ready to take that next step in his playing career, knowing the postseason is where legends are made. With a coaching staff and franchise that believes in his abilities, it gives Burrow a calming effect.
“When he’s up there cool and confident and saying the things he said, he knows he has prepared for the moment and the moment’s not too big,” Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said of Burrow.
The moment has never been too big for Burrow, a player who takes pride in coming in during the clutch and willing his team to victory. He’s done it in college, he’s done it in the regular season for the Bengals and now he’s ready to make it happen in his first playoff run.
“I've always prided myself on making plays when a game is down on it and trying to keep my team in it if we're down, and going out and winning the game if we need to go and seal the deal,” Burrow said.
Burrow’s leadership abilities and willingness to put his body on the line to make plays for his team are just two traits that make him one of the most respected quarterbacks in the NFL. With a pool of talent around him to elevate his game to the next level, this Bengals squad is more than ready to get this postseason run started.
“What you understood about Joe is he puts in the work,” Taylor said. “There’s plenty of people in life, all different professions, that can put forth a face of confidence and that they know what they’re doing, but in the backdrop, they haven’t put in the work. With Joe, it’s not the case. You know because you’ve seen it and heard it from those you’ve spoken to. He has put in all the work.”