CINCINNATI — Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has been sacked nine times and hit another 16 times in the first two games of the season.
The 24-year-old doesn't seem too concerned. Instead, he made it clear that he's going to do whatever he can to revive the Bengals' franchise, even if it means taking big hits.
"No, it's football, you're going to take hits," Burrow said when asked if he was getting hit too much. "That's part of the game. That's part of being a quarterback. I'm going to keep hanging in there and taking those hits and trying to complete the ball. It is what it is."
The "it is what it is" part of that quote is interesting. Burrow probably knows he's being hit too much, but he's not going to come out and say it—especially not this early in the season. Instead, the star quarterback is going to try to solve the issues.
"We've just got to be better all around," he said. "I can be better, backs can be better, O-line can be better, receivers can be better, coaches can be better. We can all be better."
If the Bengals are going to reach their full potential, then they need this offense to be much better, starting with Sunday's game in Pittsburgh.
Cincinnati can't expect to surprise people this season if they can't win on the road.
Head coach Zac Taylor is 1-15-1 on the road after last week's loss in Chicago. Despite the awful mark, he thinks his team can bounce back this week against a division rival.
"We want to have early success this season to help ourselves build momentum. A road win versus a divisional team does a lot that way. And then you’ve gotta just win games in this division," Taylor said on Wednesday. "This is an important one. It is Pittsburgh. It’s a divisional game. It’s a road game. We got a lot of work in front of us over these next four days to get ready."
The offensive line has taken a lot of heat, but the third-year head coach has seen improvement in that area this season, even if the numbers don't reflect their play.
"They’re improving. The first game, we did some really good stuff in the run game. We knew there was going to be some challenges in protection," Taylor said. "All those hits aren’t on the linemen. This last game [against Chicago], all those hits weren’t all on the linemen.
"I’m sure people watch the Bears play other teams. They hit the quarterback. People watch the Steelers. They hit the quarterback. We’re going to be ready for it. We’re going to have a great plan in place. We got a lot of confidence in our linemen."
Taylor has downplayed the hits Burrow has taken through two weeks, but the second-year quarterback has taken some shots. The Steelers know he might not be as mobile as he was last year since he's still working his way back from a brutal knee injury. The other 10 players on offense have to do their job and keep the pocket clean for their young quarterback.
"I was happy with my ability to hang in there and take a hit and complete the ball still," Burrow said. "I made some throws with guys in my face on Sunday while I was getting hit. I was happy with that part of my game."
The Bengals are hoping that Burrow doesn't have many chances to throw while getting hit this Sunday in Pittsburgh.
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