Joe Burrow’s Comfort In Bengals’ Offense Will Determine Its Structure

Joe Burrow of the LSU Tigers runs the ball against the Clemson Tigers
Chris Graythen / Getty Images

Joe Burrow’s offense with the Cincinnati Bengals has almost been fully installed, according to offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, but there could be changes in the plays that are called based on how the rookie quarterback feels about the packages once he gets on the field.

Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk reported on Saturday that the team is going to let its new star signal-caller to have a big say in what the final form of the offense is going to take.

Callahan said that Burrow might get on the field and run plays that have been installed and realize he’s not comfortable with a particular set or motion. Once the quarterback sees how a play is run, he’ll have the option of telling the coaching staff, “I’m not high on this play.”

The offensive coordinator said they will take that information and file it away. The coaching staff will then continue tailoring the attack to what the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft likes to do.

Alper reports the process for finding an offense that Burrow likes includes incorporating plays and sets from things he ran at LSU. Callahan also said the Bengals have pulled plays and things other teams from around the league have done.

Joe Burrow of the LSU Tigers reacts to a touchdown against Clemson Tigers
  Chris Graythen / Getty Images

Earlier in the week, Callahan talked to Geoff Hobson on the Bengals’ official website about the trends the coaching staff has studied over the offseason from other teams.

“Third down and red zone. See what teams are doing,” Callahan said. “See what they’re doing well and why and if you can incorporate them, you do that. I think we’ve done a good job studying around the league that can help us. We studied a lot of things from LSU. Obviously, if the quarterback is comfortable, everyone is comfortable.”

Alper said earlier this month that the team has been excited about what Burrow has shown in virtual team meetings, but the coaches understand it’s still going to be a struggle when the rookie gets on the field and actually starts running plays. They have also been impressed with how quickly he’s picked up the offense, considering he hasn’t been able to practice with his new teammates.

Callahan reportedly shared the rest of the coaching staff’s positive view of Burrow, but he said there are going to be struggles, just as there would be with any rookie quarterback. The offseason has been different for Burrow than in previous years because of the inability to hold any minicamps.