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How Joe Burrow is planning for Ravens after Week 1 fluke performance

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595d6a85-90cd-487e-95b0-eba8f5cd20f4-Kel Kelsey Conway
Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow hated his play against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 so much so that he cut his hair off.

This isn’t a joke.

Burrow took the podium for his weekly press conference on Wednesday with a new haircut and was asked how he knows when it’s time to get a fresh cut.

"When you have a game like that on Sunday," Cincinnati’s 26-year-old quarterback joked.

Burrow played one of, if not his worst, professional game on Sunday in Cleveland. He completed just 14 of 31 pass attempts for a career-low 82 yards and his quarterback rating was 52.2.

Performances like that are rare for Burrow. Arguably his biggest strength is his accuracy so for him to miss as many throws as he did is uncharacteristic. One can chalk up Burrow’s struggles to the weather and his calf injury that sidelined him for five weeks in the preseason.

Joe Burrow, here being pressured by Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett, had one of the worst performances of is career against the Browns. Burrow completed only 14 of 31 passes for 82 yards and a quarterback rating of 52.2.

He doesn’t view those as excuses though. He’s just pointing out the facts. According to Burrow, the rain didn’t start to get “misty” until kickoff. He didn’t envision the rain to become the factor it did.

“When it’s misting like that and the water stays on the surface of the ball, it makes it a little more challenging,” Burrow said. “Obviously that’s not an excuse. Just a fact. You live and you learn and try to handle it better the next time.”

As for how his calf is feeling, Burrow gave an honest assessment. The NFL’s highest paid player said it was “sore” but “felt good.”

It remains unclear what “good” from Burrow actually means. The next couple of weeks will really be the gauge to see if his mobility improves or not. Opponents are likely to throw more at Burrow for now until he proves his calf is no longer a question. Fortunately for the Bengals, Burrow is one of the league’s best against the blitz.

The practice reps Burrow gets during the week right now are invaluable as he works his way back to full strength but he’s still mindful to not push too hard.

It’s a balancing act.

Joe Burrow is likely to see a lot more defensive pressure, as he did here being sacked by the Browns' Myles Garrett, until he proves his calf is back to full strength.

“You've still gotta get healthy for Sunday, and that's kind of the balance that everybody in the league has challenges with throughout the year,” Burrow said. “It's the balance between getting your body ready to play in a health standpoint and also making the most out of your reps and getting as many reps as possible.”

Maximizing possessions against the Ravens will be critical in the Week 2 contest at Paycor Stadium. Baltimore is one of the league’s best in rushing offense so the time of possession battle typically leans in the Ravens' favor.

Heading into his seventh matchup against the Ravens where he has a 4-2 record, Burrow understands the importance of getting off to a fast start and taking advantage of each opportunity.

“They run the ball really well on offense, so it limits your possessions, and then their defense is tough, physical,” Burrow said of the Ravens. “They are very sound in their scheme. They do a great job of sending blitzes at you that you don't see on tape before. They have a lot of great week-to-week gameplan stuff so you have to be able to adapt well to it. They've got good players, good coach, good scheme. It's going to be a challenge.”

Burrow isn’t sweating his individual performance or the Bengals’ offensive performance in the first game of the season. Sure, he might change his hair after a game but that doesn’t mean he changes his routine or his mood around the team.

Consistency is important to him and that’s exactly what he is focused on being before Cincinnati’s home-opener on Sunday.

“Long season … everybody has bad games,” he said. “That's going to happen, and what makes you who you are and hopefully makes you the player that you are is how you respond to games like that and how consistent can you be afterwards.”

The Bengals are trying to avoid another 0-2 start this season. Last year, the team started 0-2 and created a hole for themselves to ultimately end up crawling out of. Cincinnati went on to win 10 straight games at the end of the season, including two games in the playoffs.

In order to do so though, the Bengals will take it one game at a time.

“You go out and win a game,” Burrow said. “You gotta go out and get one this week. We're focused on being 1-0 every week. So, this week we gotta go be 1-0 and then take it from there."




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Father— I visited the regimental barber to have my ears lowered in hopes it might improve our fortunes. The locks, I miss not. I feel lighter and shall be more flight of foot come Sunday. Tell Mother I gave the barber a handsome tip for his services. Pray good fortune. —Joe
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