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  1. Should the 0-2 Bengals put Joe Burrow in bubble wrap for the next four weeks? By John Breech Sep 18, 2023 at 2:31 pm ET • 4 min read Getty Images The Bengals have only played two games and their entire 2023 season is already starting to fall apart. Not only is the team winless heading into Week 3, but the Bengals are also dealing with a lot of uncertainty surrounding the health of their star quarterback, Joe Burrow. An 0-2 start isn't usually something anyone needs to panic about in Cincinnati. After all, the Bengals started the season 0-2 last year before making it all the way to the AFC title game, but this year feels different. The 0-2 start this year is worse because the Bengals lost two divisional games, and it's also worse because Burrow is banged up. The Bengals franchise quarterback aggravated his preseason calf injury during Cincinnati's 27-24 loss to the Ravens on Sunday and he even admitted after that game that he wasn't sure how bad the injury was. "We're going to have to wait and see," Burrow said of his calf. "I'm not sure how it's going to feel the next couple of days. It's pretty sore right now. No telling how it's going to feel. I think we're going to take it day by day." At one point during the loss, Burrow was doing everything possible to keep his calf loose. Joe Burrow walking, stretching and trying to keep that right calf loose. He’s using a massage gun on it too. pic.twitter.com/tOZpn4VAlS — James Rapien (@JamesRapien) September 17, 2023 Following the game, Burrow admitted he was unsure when he was asked if the calf issue was something that might bother him ALL season. "It's tough to tell, tough to look into the future and see that," Burrow said when asked if he anticipates dealing with the injury all year. "I'm doing everything I can to get healthy and get that thing the way I need it to so I can go out and perform the way I need to to win. We'll see." That's definitely not the answer you want hear if you're a Bengals fan. The only way the calf is going to heal is if Burrow gets time off, but the only way he's going to get time off is if he sits out. This essentially leaves the Bengals in an unenviable situation where they have two options. The first one is that you keep playing Burrow knowing that he won't be 100%. The problem with this solution is that he's dealing with an injury to his right calf. As a right-handed quarterback, Burrow is pushing off his right leg with almost every single one of his throws. The injury seems to be causing two problems: Burrow is struggling to throw down field and he's a lot less mobile than he's been in the past. As far his downfield accuracy goes, Burrow is 0 for 12 on passes of 15 or more air yards this season, according to the CBS Sports research team. Basically, he can't hit the big play, which is a huge part of the Bengals offense. During the Bengals' 0-2 start last year, Burrow averaged 268.5 passing yards per game. This year, that number is down to 152 yards per game and it's down even though Burrow is facing a lot less pressure. In 2022, he was sacked 13 times through the first two weeks. This year, he's only been sacked three times through two games. The offensive line is doing its job, Burrow's calf just seems to be preventing him from doing his. If Burrow keeps playing and the offense keeps struggling, then his calf is getting worse for no reason. As far as his mobility goes, Burrow has one run for five yards through two weeks. Last year, he had six rushes for 47 yards in Week 1 alone. He then followed that up with four runs for 26 yards in Week 2. It almost seems like he's afraid to take off this year because he's afraid of reinjuring the calf. Burrow's mobility is an under-appreciated part of the Bengals offense that they haven't really been able to utilize this year. The other option is to put Burrow on injured reserve. This may sound drastic, but it could end up being the only way to save their season. As things stand right now, the Bengals' next four games look like this: Week 3: vs. Rams (1-1) Week 4: at Titans (1-1) Week 5: at Cardinals (0-2) Week 6: vs. Seahawks (1-1) The Bengals also have a bye in Week 7, so if Burrow went on IR now, he'd miss four games, but he'd also get an extra week to heal thanks to the bye. If the Bengals went this route, that means Burrow would get to heal from Sept. 18 thru Oct. 23. During the preseason, Burrow's calf injury sidelined him for nearly a month (July 27 thru Aug. 30). If the Bengals were to win just one game while Burrow was out, that would put them at 1-5 when he gets back. At that point, they'd probably have to go 9-2 or 8-3 to give themselves a shot at the playoffs, which is something the Bengals would certainly be capable of with a healthy Burrow. This is a dicey situation and at this point, here's what I would do: If the Bengals think he's healthy enough to play in Week 3, then let him play. On the other hand, if the Bengals are thinking about sitting him due to the calf injury, then I'd go ahead and put him on IR and give him the full five weeks to heal. Of course, the problem with letting him play is that he'll be facing Aaron Donald and then no matter what happens against the Rams, he'll be losing a day of rest for Week 4 because the Bengals will be on a short week coming off a Monday night game. So there's even some risk when it comes to letting him play. The Bengals made a $275 million investment in Burrow and if they want to make sure he's healthy for the long term, then sitting him for the next few weeks might be the way to go. https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/why-putting-joe-burrow-on-injured-reserve-might-be-best-way-for-bengals-to-save-their-season/
  2. With Burrow struggling to complete his signature deep passes, here's who Cincinnati could turn to should he need to take a breather By Garrett Podell 20 hrs ago • 3 min read Getty Images Early in the preseason, after Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow suffered a calf injury in training camp, his top wideout and LSU BFF, Ja'Marr Chase, declared that he thought Burrow should sit out until Week 5 if he wasn't 100%. "I told him that with all honesty I don't want him there," Chase said on NFL Network on Aug. 4. "Same thing with me last year. I sat out an extra game just to let my hip all the way heal up, and you don't want to cause no other problems later on in the season, and I told him as long as you're there after Week 5 and on, we're good brother." Two weeks into the 2023 season, Chase appears to be on to something. The Bengals are 0-2, and without the ability to put as much of his lower body into this throws, Burrow can't connect on his patented deep ball. The NFL's highest-paid player on an annual basis -- Burrow signed a five-year, $275 million contract extension on Sept. 9 -- is 0-for-12 on throws of 15 or more air yards this season. He is 0-for-8 to receiver Tee Higgins, 0-for-3 to Chase and 0-for-1 to tight end Irv Smith Jr. This is unprecedented for Burrow, as he only had one game without a completion of 15 or more air yards in his first 42 career starts. Now, he has done so in consecutive games. Across the last two seasons, Burrow led the NFL with 27 passing touchdowns of 15 or more air yards. Joe Burrow passing on throws of 15+ air yards (last 3 seasons) 2021-2022 2023 Comp Pct 51% (2nd) 0% (0-12, last in NFL) TD-INT 27-9* (1st) 0-1 (T-last in NFL) Passer Rating 117.1 (1st) 4.9 (30th) * Most passing touchdowns on throws of 15+ air yards from 2021-22 "Got to get some go routes in there, just get some downfield shots," Chase said Monday, via Fox 19 in Cincinnati. "That way, we can come back to anything else underneath." The Bengals WR1 declined to directly blame Burrow's calf injury for the lack of deep-ball synergy when asked if that was the reason for the struggles. "I don't know," Chase said. "I mean, we really haven't taken that many shots downfield. You look at the past two games, you don't really see that many shots downfield. Have to take more shots downfield. I mean, that's why we have deep-threat guys. Take a chance." Joe Burrow CIN • QB • #9 CMP%56.9 YDs304 TD2 INT1 YD/Att4.22 View Profile If Cincy did decide to allow Burrow to rest up -- unlikely given its 0-2 start -- but if it did, what would its potential options look like? In terms of options on the roster, the Bengals have two possibilities: Jake Browning -- who threw his only career NFL pass incomplete in the Bengals' 24-3 Week 1 loss at the Cleveland Browns -- or practice squad quarterback Will Grier. The 28-year-old Grier, a former West Virginia standout, is eligible for both a promotion to the active roster or at least three one-week call-ups from the scout team. A 2019 third-round pick of the Carolina Panthers, Grier spent all of 2021 inactive on the Dallas Cowboys roster, and he also did not play a game for the 2020 Panthers. He did spend a few games as Cooper Rush's backup in 2022 when he filled in for an injured Dak Prescott, but he didn't receive game action. He does have two career NFL starts from the end of his rookie season in Carolina. He completed 53% of his passes while throwing four picks and no touchdowns. Grier's last start came in the Cowboys' preseason finale against the Las Vegas Raiders where he played the best game of his professional career: he threw for 305 passing yards and two touchdowns on 29 of 35 passing in addition to rushing for 53 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy called it "the best preseason quarterback performance he's seen since probably 1999." Should the Bengals look for external options, some short-term solutions could be the former second overall pick from the 2016 NFL Draft Carson Wentz (unsigned), 2016 NFL MVP Matt Ryan (unsigned), Bengals all-time passing touchdowns leader Andy Dalton (currently on Panthers, would need to be acquired via trade), Browns 2022 fill-in quarterback Jacoby Brissett (currently on Commanders, would need to be acquired via trade) or 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton (unsigned). https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/joe-burrow-injury-what-are-the-bengals-options-with-star-qb-looking-like-he-may-need-time-to-rest-up/
  3. Chris Roling Tue, Sep 19, 2023, 9:34 AM CDT·1 min read Cincinnati Bengals coaches have come under fire after two weeks for apparent play-calling struggles, an idea only amplified by recent comments from star wideout Ja’Marr Chase. But as some could have probably guessed, Zac Taylor and Co. had pulled back the playbook in an effort to make sure Joe Burrow didn’t put too much stress on the calf injury that cost him most of the summer. Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic explained: The staff felt great about the progress of Burrow up until that point. They coaches had limited the game plan to hedge against reinjury risk for two weeks. There were no snaps under center or designed rollouts. The majority of plays centered around quick, timing throws. Dialing back the playbook and removing staples such as under-center looks and rollouts to move pockets and shift defenses is especially not ideal against AFC North foes like the Browns and Ravens. And judging by those games, the Browns and Ravens 100 percent knew what was coming. Yet losing Burrow to another injury is worse. Burrow said he tweaked the calf late in the loss against the Ravens and Taylor didn’t want to provide an update yet. But with this injury, especially, it might just end up being something he deals with all season. Now 0-2, the Bengals have to decide whether running Burrow back out there in a predictable, limited offense is worth the risk and it feels like a near-impossible decision to make, barring an unexpected healing development. https://sports.yahoo.com/bengals-dialed-back-playbook-prevent-143450317.html?src=rss
  4. Cincinnati Bengals @Bengals · 33s “Many years in the past, we’ve learned from early-season losses that have propelled us in November and December. This will be no different. I’m very confident in that.” -Zac Taylor
  5. Bengals snap count takeaways after loss to Ravens Chris Roling Mon, Sep 18, 2023, 9:50 AM CDT·1 min read The Cincinnati Bengals came up short in a 27-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2. That plants the Bengals in the very same 0-2 hole as last year, with one big wrinkle — quarterback Joe Burrow says he re-aggravated his calf injury. Burrow didn’t end up missing any snaps and says he would have re-entered the game if given the chance, but it’s a wait-and-see game on his status now. Here’s a look at some quick snap-count takeaways. — Ja’Marr Chase led all weapons with 98 percent usage yet ended with just five catches on eight targets for 31 yards. — With Chris Evans out, Trayveon Williams got 10 snaps behind Joe Mixon and the rookie Chase Brown, making his pro debut, got one snap, a carry for two yards. — Irv Smith got 77 percent of the possible snaps at tight end and caught two passes for 10 yards. — Dax Hill and Cam Taylor-Britt are firmly in the 99 percent club alongside Logan Wilson and Germaine Pratt. — Nick Scott played 65 percent of the snaps but was in and out with an injury, leading to rookie Jordan Battle playing 33 percent. — Rookie corner DJ Turner got 24 snaps (32 percent). First-rounder Myles Murphy had 19 (25 percent). https://sports.yahoo.com/bengals-snap-count-takeaways-loss-145040329.html?src=rss
  6. Kelsey Conway, Cincinnati Enquirer Sun, Sep 17, 2023, 7:00 PM CDT·6 min read The Cincinnati Bengals find themselves in a familiar situation as they fell to 0-2 for the second year in a row. After losing to the Baltimore Ravens in their home opener, there’s more questions than answers surrounding this Bengals team. Bengals head coach Zac Taylor remains consistent in his message about no one overreacting. But things feel different this time around. Mostly because of the status of star quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow, after straining his calf on the second day of training camp causing him to miss all of the preseason, tweaked the same calf in the 27-24 loss to the Ravens. His status remains unclear and because of that, it’s hard to say with confidence the Bengals will definitely find their way out of this hole this time around. The ability for the Bengals to turn around this 0-2 start is in question, thanks in large part to the condition of Joe Burrow's injured calf. Burrow said he tweaked the calf in Sunday's game. As Taylor said, the “beauty” of the NFL is that it’s a 17-game season. There’s a lot of football left to be played and plenty of time for those questions to be answered. But let's take a closer look at what exactly took place in the Week 2 loss to the Ravens: Bengals struggled to affect Lamar Jackson in the pocket When the Ravens have a healthy version of Jackson, they are a different team. Especially when they play the Bengals. Jackson is 7-1 in games that he’s played against Cincinnati. He’s been unable to play in the last two meetings with the Bengals and he showed why it’s a different game when he’s starting at quarterback. The Ravens netted 415 yards of total offense against the Bengals on Sunday. Cincinnati didn’t force its first punt until the middle of the fourth quarter. Baltimore was 9-of-14 on third down, completing 64% of their attempts. Against a mobile quarterback like Jackson, the Bengals use a different rush plan. Cincinnati didn’t affect Jackson enough, simply put. The Bengals didn’t register a single quarterback hit or sack on Jackson. The NFL’s former MVP completed 24 of his 33 passes, good for a quarterback rating of 112.8. “It’s a challenge,” Taylor said when asked about the lack of pressure. “There are pressures there where he’s elite with his movement skills. Some quarterbacks, the pressure would be there and affect him. For him, he just skips around it and is able to move on. You have to rush him differently. He does such a good job in the pocket. He’s one of the best passers in the league, and combined with his rushing skills, he makes it difficult.” The Bengals have invested heavily in their defensive line over the last couple of years because of who they play in their division. Teams like Cleveland and Baltimore are built on their run game and Cincinnati has adjusted its roster accordingly. Baltimore won at the line of scrimmage against the Bengals’ defensive front. They enforced their will and Cincinnati couldn’t stop it. Slow starts on offense continue to cripple Cincinnati’s offense The theme of slow starts continues to cripple the Bengals’ offense. Cincinnati’s first offensive touchdown Sunday didn’t come until 2:38 to go in the third quarter. The Bengals were held without a touchdown in the Week 1 loss to the Browns and through the first half of Sunday’s loss. Burrow addressed the need for faster starts on offense following the game. “I think we always want to start fast,” he said. “Teams play us soft, keep everything in front. I think we did a good job of taking what they gave us today. But if you start fast, teams think twice about playing that way. So, we’ve got to start fast.” So much of the faster starts is dependent on Burrow’s health moving forward. On a positive note, Burrow looked significantly more comfortable in the second half. Burrow completed 27 of his 41 pass attempts and threw for 222 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Wide receiver Tee Higgins’ play was also a bright spot for the Bengals. After not catching a pass against the Browns, Higgins racked up eight for 89 yards and two touchdowns against the Ravens. Wide receiver Tee Higgins pulls in one of his two touchdown passes against the Ravens Sunday. Higgins, who didn't catch a pass against the Browns in Week One, had eight catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns Sunday. The Bengals knew coming into this matchup against the Ravens that possessions were going to be at a premium. Baltimore is one of the NFL’s best rushing teams year in and year out and want to control the time of possession. It’s why getting a lead early against the Ravens is the key to success to force them out of what they want to do first and that’s run the ball. “We’ve got to find ways to make those plays down the stretch to win these kinds of games,” Burrow said following the game. “Every time you play an AFC North team, it's going to look like that. You're going to have seven possessions, so you're going to have to make the most of them.” The Ravens had 70 plays compared to the Bengals’ 57 plays. Each possession matters against this team. Burrow reiterated his absence in the preseason continues to play a factor in the slow starts. “Well, when your quarterback misses camp, it’s tough to start fast. So, it’s not an ideal situation. The need to get Ja’Marr Chase ‘more involved’ in Bengals’ offense Ja’Marr Chase’s production through two games is one of the most surprising storylines of the Bengals’ season. Chase has caught 10 passes for just 70 yards and zero touchdowns. Against the Ravens who were down their top cover cornerback Marlon Humphrey, Chase wasn’t a factor. He finished the day with five catches for 31 yards. “We'll go back and reevaluate that,” Burrow said. “We need to get him involved. He's our best player on offense, so we need to find a way to get him off.” Chase’s ability to create explosive plays for the Bengals at any point in the game is one of the reasons Cincinnati’s offense has become so dynamic over the last two seasons. Every game tells a different story but there’s a overarching theme with the Bengals that involves Chase. The Bengals feed off the energy they create offensively with fast starts and explosive plays from their wide receivers. The emphasis on getting Chase more involved will surely be heightened over the next few weeks but so much of that is dependent on the health of No. 9. https://sports.yahoo.com/analysis-0-2-cincinnati-bengals-000015138.html?src=rss
  7. The heft of hype and the strain of a calf are making this year's 0-2 start for the Cincinnati Bengals feel a lot more problematic than last year's. By Jay Morrison September 17, 2023 | 7:30 PM EDT CINCINNATI — The light switch the Cincinnati Bengals expected to flip when the regular season started appears to have been vandalized with super glue. Entering the season as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl while employing the highest-paid player in NFL history, the Bengals were going to shrug off the lack of work in OTAs and preseason games … and quarterback Joe Burrow’s calf injury … and the departure of both starting safeties … and the heft of hype … and just explode from the starting gate. Yet, here they are again at 0-2. And fixing that in 2023 looks as though it’s going to be a lot harder than it was in 2022. How Did the Cincinnati Bengals Get To 0-2 Again? A big reason for the greater degree of difficulty is the growing concern that Burrow’s calf injury, unlike his “here today, gone tomorrow” appendectomy last year, could be an issue far longer than anyone in the building anticipated. Maybe Ja’Marr Chase was right when he suggested the Bengals would be fine if Burrow waited until Week 5 to come back. One of the reasons the Bengals gave Burrow a five-year, $275 million extension was his ability to mask deficiencies around him and carry the team through any minefield. But now Burrow is compromised, and no one else is stepping up to squeeze the slack. Chase has 10 catches on 17 targets for 70 yards through two games. His 70 yards mark the lowest two-game total of his career, and he once had one catch for three yards in a 2021 win at Denver. The defensive line, which was supposed to be the deepest and most talented position group on the team, is not getting any pressure on the quarterback. The Bengals failed to sack Lamar Jackson on Sunday and hit him only once. And it’s not as though that was part of a trade-off to keep Jackson in the pocket or flood the passing lanes with defenders. Jackson made some easy throws to open receivers and ran 12 times for 54 yards as part of a 178-yard rushing performance by the Ravens. In their previous 23 regular and postseason games, the Bengals had allowed a team to rush for 178 yards just once. They’ve now done it back-to-back weeks after surrendering 206 to the Cleveland Browns in the opener. Offensively, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd elevated their performances. Higgins rebounded from no catches on eight targets to snaring eight receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns. Boyd had 52 yards on six catches, one of which was a hospital ball Burrow threw high over the middle that got the receiver leveled. But overall, the offense — like Burrow’s calf — is compromised. Burrow attempted only one pass longer than 20 yards. That was on the 3rd-and-8 play on the second drive of the game when he threw a perfect pass that should have put the Bengals in Baltimore territory, only to have tight end Irv Smith Jr. not get a second foot down inbounds. The risk aversion to having Burrow need to sprint from the pocket and tweak his calf is leading to a bunch of quick passes and early checkdowns. Burrow only attempted three passes of 10 air yards or more. He was 0-for-3 on those. Last week he completed zero of seven throws of more than 10 air yards. Sunday there was a holding call on Alex Cappa that negated a first-down run by Joe Mixon, resulting in a three-and-out to start the game. There was an illegal hands-to-the-face penalty by Zach Carter that wiped out Trey Hendrickson’s strip-sack of Jackson, which had resulted in Logan Wilson recovering the ball at Baltimore’s 18-yard line. There was an illegal contact penalty –- bogus as it may have been –- on Cam Taylor-Britt that negated another sack, this time by Sam Hubbard. Those plays can be costly when Burrow is 100% healthy and dissecting defenses. They’re lethal when he’s not. It’s easy to point at last year’s slow start as a reason to believe this team can overcome 0-2 and still do special things, especially given the continuity on the coaching staff and the roster. There’s a lot of “been there, done that” in the locker room. But this is a new year with a new set of challenges that won’t be as easy to fix. This 0-2 hole feels deeper and murkier. The Bengals beat history last year, starting 0-2 and becoming the 39th team out of 406 since the 1970 merger to still make the playoffs. To do it two years in a row would be remarkable, historically speaking. The Bengals aren’t a one-man team. They have a legitimately strong roster. Whether the performance can match the talent is going to be a question that, like Burrow’s calf injury, could linger for an undetermined amount of time. https://www.profootballnetwork.com/cincinnati-bengals-news-reason-for-panic-at-0-2-nfl-2023/
  8. Cincinnati Bengals "It’s always about how you respond and I know that we’re going to respond with confidence, focus, and hopefully get back right on track." - @ChidobeAwuzie
  9. Defense is exhausted from being on the field the whole first half.
  10. Is Hendrickson playing today? I haven’t heard his name mentioned once the whole game.
  11. The offense FINALLY gets its first Touchdown of the season. And it only took 7 quarters…
  12. Not sure if it’s the calf or something else, but something is wrong with Burrow.
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