CINCINNATI — When the Bengals selected Ja'Marr Chase with the fifth pick in last month's NFL Draft, they had visions of star quarterback Joe Burrow leading an explosive offense for years to come.
They could keep opposing defensive coordinators up at night after adding a weapon like Chase to a unit that already has Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins.
Legendary sportswriter Peter King says the new-look Bengals offense reminds him of the 1980's Chargers.
"I look at the Cincinnati future and I see the old Chargers, quarterbacked by Dan Fouts with that explosive receiving corps, John Jefferson and Charlie Joiner and Kellen Winslow. Not saying Joe Burrow will be Fouts, and Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins have a ways to go to be in the Charger stratosphere. But Burrow is fearless like Fouts, and he’s beginning to look like the kind of leader Fouts was, and Burrow throws downfield with the same boldness and fearlessness," King wrote. "Of course, the Chargers were a better total team than Cincinnati is, and Zac Taylor needs to start winning or he’ll be someone’s coordinator in a couple of years. It’s strange to rate a team 27th and be optimistic about its future. I‘m dubious about the Bengals’ long-term management, but that hasn’t changed since I covered the team in 1984. What I like about the state of the Bengals is there’s a quarterback who won’t stand for the same old Bengals, who will shake them out of the lethargy of five straight losing seasons. And if you’re not on board, get out of the way. What that means for this year, particularly with Burrow coming off major knee surgery, is probably 5-12 or something in that neighborhood. But mark my words: The Bengals will upset a couple of teams—Pittsburgh, Baltimore or maybe the Raiders—and look impressive doing it."
The quartet of Fouts, Joiner, Winslow and Jefferson helped the Chargers become one of the most dangerous offenses in NFL history. They went to a combined 18 Pro Bowls and were named to the NFL All-Pro Team eight times.
Fouts, Joiner and Jefferson are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Imagine looking up in 30 years from now and seeing Burrow, Chase and Higgins in Canton. That would be quite the run for the Bengals.
Those Chargers teams were fun to watch, but they never got over the hump in the postseason. Fouts finished 3-4 in the playoffs, which included a 27-7 loss to Ken Anderson and the Bengals on Jan. 10, 1982.
Burrow has drawn comparisons to Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner and Tony Romo. Add Fouts to the list of greats that the 24-year-old has been compared to.
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