CINCINNATI — Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has spent the offseason rehabbing his surgically repaired left knee. The 24-year-old is expected to be ready for Week 1, but rehab didn't stop him from working on other elements of his game.
"I feel like I have a lot more velocity. That was the big thing I wanted to work on this offseason. Obviously, it was tough with the circumstances," Burrow said last week.
He isn't the only one that has noticed a difference in velocity. Tight end C.J. Uzomah was shocked at the way Burrow was throwing and even asked Thaddeus Moss if the ball was coming in hot.
"Thad was like, 'Yeah, he's humming the ball right now.'" Uzomah said of Moss' reassurance. "He said, 'No, no, no, he's ripping it.' I don't know if he is changing up his throwing motion or his mechanics or things like that but he definitely has some zip to it."
Burrow did work on his throwing motion and grip on the ball this offseason.
Uzomah spent most of the offseason at Paul Brown Stadium while recovering from a torn Achilles. He declared himself 100%, but there was some doubt about his hands. Turns out that Burrow's velocity is that much different than it was a year ago.
"Even today on some of the routes, it's like, yep, this thing is coming. Tight coverage will not matter right now because it's getting on you quick," Uzomah said. "I like it. It took a second and I was like, 'Oh, hold on, let me put the gloves on and make sure I'm ready for this.' But I like it better right now just the way it is coming in. Maybe that's just me being with him in the rehab stuff and just getting used to it. But it feels good. Feels like he's doing well, feeling well, throwing well."
Burrow threw for 2,688 yards and 13 touchdowns in 10 games as a rookie. Those numbers should skyrocket if he's on the field for all 17 games this season, especially with the plethora of weapons the Bengals have on offense.
"The offense as a whole. There's not one particular thing. I think as a whole," Uzomah said. "I think every area we've improved."
The veteran tight end wasn't the only one that's noticed growth in Burrow. Tyler Boyd also likes what he's seeing from his quarterback.
“Earlier Tee, he had dropped the first ball because Joe’s smoking them. They’re coming [fast]," Boyd said. "So we gotta anticipate that because Joe got stronger. Hands were out there stinging a little bit, but we gotta adjust to it. We’re receivers, we gotta catch everything that’s thrown at us.”
Will Burrow be able to maintain his higher velocity for the rest of this offseason? What about training camp and a 17-game regular season schedule?
Those are questions that will be answered in time, but Burrow believes an offseason full of work will make a huge difference on the field.
"It all starts with my hips. My hips got a lot stronger just doing the rehab," Burrow said of his increase in velocity. "It’s a lot of glute, hip flexor, hip work to help strengthen the knee and keeping the knee out of compromised positions and that. By doing that it really helped out a lot."
Watch clips of Burrow throwing on the run during Tuesday's practice below.
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