How Joe Burrow Mastered the Art of the Easy Game (2023)

The hardest thing about modern NFL defenses is how dare they make you act uncool. I know this seems like an easy fix - just don't try to force the ball upfield - but consider the modern NFL offense: running backs are better than ever in so many ways; Talented from the moment; the rules are more or less on that side of the ball. Besides, fielding the ball is just bad.vasTry to be boring.

The Cincinnati Bengals did just that a year ago. efficient.

In 2021, quarterback Joe Burrow leads the NFLdeep touch13 points -- More three-pointers from 20 yards than any other running back. In 2022, all defenses are sold out to make sure Burrow doesn't do this again. They hit an exaggerated version of two lobs -- a league-wide trend to take away deep passes by reducing safeties. They succeeded. Burrow had just eight deep runs last season, and his field goal percentage was 38 percent, good for 12th in the NFL. Regardless, Burrow is a solid quarterback.

The secret was simple: Burrow took what the defense gave him -- short, boring, quick passes with lots of yards after the catch. In a league where frontcourt offense is extremely easy, that's easier said than done. During training camp earlier this month, coach Zach Taylor said that when a player (typically a tight end or running back) has a lot of room to maneuver, Burrow can't hesitate, even when given the opportunity. Establish deep connections with your opponents. Stars like Ja'Marr Chase or Tee Higgins. "If he felt there was an opportunity to quickly pass the ball to someone in space, he wouldn't necessarily wait for the main part of the concept," Taylor explained. In 2022, Burrow's air yards per attempt dropped by more than 1 yard compared to 2021. He dropped the number of passes to runners from 90 to 133. The Bengals also saw an increase in passing yards after the catch.

"Patience is really hard for talented running backs," offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said. "Joe is no exception - it's personal growth, football maturity, that happens when you decide you want to be a different player than what you imagined. But that's something you have to do, to get the ball down the field." NFL Chess Game 2023: NFL defenses don't allow deep passes, and teams that handle them will advance quickly and efficiently. The Bengals are doing just that.

Ringer's fantasy football rankings

It's never too early to start preparing for football season. We've predicted every player in your upcoming draft, from sleepers to busts.

(Video) FIRST THINGS FIRST | Joe Burrow has mastered the art of overcoming setbacks and Bengals hope - Nick

Take the playoff game against Buffalo last season as an example. Callahan talked about the second half of the period. Buffalo makes a lightning attack and Burrow has to react. "We had all these cool concepts and cuts and high angles (on the field) and all of a sudden there's Hayden Hurststayin the apartment. This is the easiest first failure you can experience. Like, 'Well, this is really easy. ... let's just do it. "

(Video) Ben Maller Is Not Worried About Joe Burrow Wanting to Be on Season 2 of Netflix's "Quarterback"

In that game, seven of the Bills' best returners blew it. Callahan said Burrow was "so fast that nobody had time to catch him fast enough, which gave Hayden room to knock down the first one." "To have him do it so quickly -- it's like he didn't even think about the rest of the concept. He said, 'Well, they've got a problem -- here's the ball, let that guy get it first.' "

"It's really easy; let's just do it" became the hallmark of last year's Bengals offense. Taylor looks back at a play he feels is emblematic of that philosophy: Tee Higgins against Buffalo, a play designed to make Chase go deep. An "option" route against New Orleans was designed for Tyler Boyd and ended up being a 9-yard catch by Joe Mixon. "Whether you want to call it patience or foresight, [we] can say, 'This is the best thing we're doing,'" Taylor said. "Not even waiting to see what happens with TB's pick, he could get open. I'm just going to be efficient here and take what the defense gives me and not lose what else could happen with the concept."

The Bengals are one of the most successful practitioners of this offense, but ultimately all teams must move toward it. The defense limited the deep passing game and the offense struggled as a result. Last season marked the first time since at least the merger that the league's average yards per completion dipped to 11. That number was up nearly 2 yards in previous seasons and 12 yards in 2011, when the so-called passing boom began and ushered in a new era of quarterback dominance. .

Callahan saw that move while Vic Fangio was the Bears' defensive coordinator from 2015 to 2018. Fangio's schemes based on limiting explosive attacks are nothing new, with coordinators starting to deploy more defenders deep in midfield the moment the ball is passed forward. is legal -- but it's the best system to try to prevent a generation of young quarterbacks from bringing the ball downfield easily. For example, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Russell Wilson had more than 9 yards in the air on each attemptevery throwIn 2018, Mahomes' rushing yards dropped to 7.5 yards per game last season and have declined in nearly all of his NFL seasons. Mahomestell meHis solution was as simple as the Tigers' solution after a rough start to 2021: "Whenever you have a slump like this, I guess you say, 'How can I come back and fix things? Easy?' The position is already so difficult, why make it difficult?" He said. "For me, I started to be more patient and I started to take out what's underneath and started to open it up."

That's the life cycle of an offense with an elite quarterback (whether it's Burrow or Mahomes): pass the ball deep and aggressively until the defense gives up on stopping it, and then it changes everything. "They didn't bring us anything deep," Boyd said of the 2022 season. The Bengals changed everything.

Through the first five weeks of the season -- a stretch that included losses to the Steelers, Cowboys and Ravens -- Burrow just wasn't himself. He threw for nine touchdowns and five interceptions, and in two high coverages averaged more yards per attempt than Russell Wilson, Baker Mayfield, Marcus Mariota, Carson Wentz (!) and Mike Jones, coached by Matt Patricia, were even and it burns. But at halftime in Week 5 against Baltimore, the team turned to easier options in terms of calling players and making decisions on the floor, the coaches said.

(Video) 'Special, special' Joe Burrow carrying Bengals offense | Chris Simms Unbuttoned | NFL on NBC

Burrow was outstanding the rest of the season, scoring four more touchdowns than any other player, leading in double figures and finishing sixth in completion percentage. Burrow had 161 possessions against Cover 2 defenses last year, the most in the NFL and more than 100 more than in 2020. Among the 15 running backs who faced the most Cover 2 defenses, Burrow had the highest completion percentage, the most first downs on the day and fourth in yards per attempt behind Mahomes, Gin Smith and Tu Tagovailoa. Quarterbacks coach Dan Pitchell said the focus is on finding players downfield to create matchups, pass the ball into holes on defense and gain yards after the catch. Last year, two Bengals running backs -- Mixon and Samaje Perine -- ranked in the top 15 in yards per catch. "We're not going to go five games and think we're going to score," Boyd said of the new philosophy. "We're planning on going 15 per stoppage because now we know what we need to do to score because they're not going to give us big runs anymore or give us a chance to get 50-50 balls."

Sure enough, Burrow made the same discovery. He becamethe best defender in footballLast year, there were two routes: the "go" route (a straight line for the catcher's arrival on the field) and the "in" route (horizontal move). This combination is deadly because one will open the other. This is important for future offenses: they will continue to take short routes until they return to vertical routes.

"I think we have the best offense in football, with that being said, you've got guys like me, Tee and Chase trying to get the ball downfield and Zach can't do that because the defense is going to change overnight to defend us," he said Boyd. He said teams would watch film and see a man defense or a Cover 3 defense, then see a completely different team on game day. There are two main differences: The first, Boyd said, is that teams only want to run a 2 or quarter screen, and the second is that they will run a man screen before the kickoff. Boyd said "playing with Joe's mind" just wouldn't work. "He would take us 10 yards, and he would take it out every time. That would kill defenders. You have to give it to us because you can't have both."

It's not normal for a team to change its defensive identity in just one week, but that's what happened to the Bengals. "People treat us differently. They play the Chiefs differently. You just don't know until the game starts and you're like, 'Well, that's what they're doing. Where are we going now?'" Kara Han said. Against the Niners in 2021, San Francisco and defensive coordinator Demeco Raines unexpectedly revealed their off-the-record plans for Tampa 2, the coaches noted.

That's why, Callahan said, the offense uses a trick he learned while coaching Peyton Manning in Denver: They set up a big play sheet with different coverages and once the team sees a defensive play, they immediately create a game plan that counters it. "'Okay, bro, that's the Tampa 2 game. We're right about this one,' we said, 'Joe, which is your favorite of the three, blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah, blah blah, blah, blah , blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Callahan. "It's kind of a free-flowing [thing]: Here's our initial plan, here's our backup plan, and then [ask] Joe what he sees, and he'll say, 'That's it. Well, it's going to be open. ' And it's usually so. You can have just as much fun as a coach when you have someone who can handle it well. "Coverage is everything: Chase is often double-teamed, which opens up space for tight ends and running backs. Some teams play double-doubles, which means double-teaming Chase and another receiver. "He has no reservations about what he sees," Callahan said of Burrow. "He never really leaves the field or misjudges what he sees, which is unique. He'll see a lever or a landmark and say, 'Oh yeah, he's right.'"

Manning is a regular presence in conversations with Bengals coaches. That's partly because Callahan uses a lot of Manning's concepts in the dropback game, Taylor said. "If you watch our return games, that's how it is," Taylor said. “You can go back and find clips of old Colts or old Broncos.” But there's another reason this lineup is floating around training camp. two years ago IvisitedCincinnati discusses the Bengals' offensive scoring. Burrow told me he likes to get as many players involved in routes as possible and then let his vision do the rest. The next two seasons proved to be a very successful strategy. But one thing that stuck out to me was Callahan's comment that, ultimately, the coaching staff wanted to see Burrow in "Peyton Manning mode," which is shorthand for total control of the offense.

(Video) Joe Burrow earns master's degree from LSU

I asked three offensive line coaches this summer how the plan was going. It is time. "He's mastered our system," Callahan said. That concession is why the offense has changed so much. And because all aspects of the unit and personnel are on the same page, Burrow is even able to run plays that haven't been practiced in months. Flexibility is "a sign of a lack of self-awareness," the coaches say. We just want to win. The most important person on Sunday is Joe," Pitcher said.

The coaches also praised Taylor's adaptability and willingness to play in all facets of the offense. The team implemented a Sean McVeigh-style outside zone run scheme in 2019, but it worked so poorly that it was discontinued. Burrow wasn't successful on traditional dagger routes (deep, explosive routes), so they stopped throwing daggers. Most teams fail while trying to fit square pegs into round holes, and the evolution of the Bengals offense makes it all work.

Here's the schedule, Taylor told me: After Wednesday and Thursday's practices, Burrow sat down with the coaches to discuss adjustments. Then, on Saturday night, Burrow and the coaches review the entire list of calls, ranking the games. He was very honest, Taylor said. The coach will go through the various reports that Burrow can see and will give a preferred order based on his confidence in the performance of each report. Feedback, even in games, is immediate and vital, Taylor said. He would often give Burrow a choice between two tackles to start the next play on the sideline. Taylor would also give Burrow a choice if he was on the floor, and Burrow would respond with a "thumbs up" or a "thumbs up." Because of the one-way communication in the headset, Taylor said, "he can't talk back to me. He can just listen to what I'm saying, whether he likes it or not." Coaching, playing and receiver stability means they can more easily adapt and adapt during the game.

Therefore, they always choose the easy way. but sometimes thatbecomedeep route. Against Atlanta last October, the Falcons tried to take away deep passes, Boyd said. Boyd ran through the seam while Higgins was out. The security situation is dire, Boyd said. "I'm naked too," Higgins said, evoking his openness. "But Joe saw tuberculosis." Boyd finished with a 60-yard touchdown run, the kind of defense that should have prevented that against the Bengals. "I think the safety went down, I didn't know who to play against, it was basically a free game," Boyd said. Lots of free things to do in Cincinnati lately.

Due to an editorial error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly reported Burrow's interceptions through the first five weeks of the season.


What is Joe Burrow's weakness? ›

Kryptonite: Arm strength

Joe Burrow's arm isn't bad. It's not even necessarily average, but he can't match the rockets possessed by the likes of Josh Allen, Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes. Relative to those players, his arm is a weakness — but quite obviously not to the point that it is an actual weakness.

What makes Joe Burrow a good QB? ›

“Joe's greatest gift is he's got an incredible perception of what everybody on the field is doing and where they are located,” Callahan told Clark in August. “So his 'making every throw' is gonna look a little different sometimes than [Aaron] Rodgers or [Patrick] Mahomes …

Is Joe Burrow the most accurate? ›

Burrow ended up ranking first in three separate categories: Accuracy, Touch, and Mechanics. Only one other quarterback was ranked first in more categories as Patrick Mahomes came out on top in five categories. Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson took the crown in the remaining two.

What does Joe Burrow yell? ›

Celebrating the score with teammate Mike Hilton, Burrow was heard screaming, “I'm him!” Asked to elaborate on the moment in a Wednesday press conference, Burrow let out a big laugh and claimed not to remember. “Did I say that?” he asked with a wide smile.

Does Joe Burrow have good arm strength? ›

It's because he doesn't have arm strength. And that's been a thing going back to his time at Ohio State, even when Urban Meyer was like yelling at him telling him he doesn't have a Division 1 arm. That's the thing, he's never going to have that talent."

Who is better Herbert or Burrow? ›

While both QBs have thrived early in their NFL careers, it's been Burrow who has had more playoff success. Herbert won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2020 while Burrow was recovering from injury. Burrow would return to win Comeback Player of the Year. Last season, Burrow progressed while Herbert took a step back.

Who has the most accurate deep ball in the NFL? ›

Geno Smith leads the way: The Seattle Seahawks passer ranked first in big-time throws (30) and percentage (47.6%) last year.

Who has the highest accuracy in the NFL? ›

Ranking NFL's 10 most accurate quarterbacks, and where they excel
  • No. 1: Joe Burrow.
  • No. 2: Kyler Murray.
  • No. 3: Derek Carr.
  • No. 4: Kirk Cousins.
  • No. 5: Justin Herbert.
  • No. 6: Ryan Tannehill.
  • No. 7: Matt Ryan.
  • No. 8: Tua Tagovailoa.
Sep 9, 2022

Who has the best accuracy in NFL history? ›

1Joe Burrow68.2%
2Drew Brees67.7%
3Jimmy Garoppolo67.6%
4Deshaun Watson67.0%
53 more rows

What was Joe Burrow's longest throw? ›

Can't-Miss Play: Joe Burrow goes WAY downtown to Ja'Marr Chase for 70-yard TD. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow throws a pass just out of reach of Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage to rookie wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase for a 70-yard touchdown, the longest pass of his career.

How serious is Joe Burrow's injury? ›

Burrow went down on a non-contact play. In many cases, that could mean a serious knee or Achilles injury. For Burrow it turned out to just be a calf strain, however, Bengals Wire provides an update: Burrow is set to miss “several weeks.” Adding to the concern was Cincinnati wideout Ja'Marr Chase.

How strong is Joe Burrow? ›

Joe Burrow, on the other hand, was in the middle of the pack for both arm strength and release time, but he's the quickest decision maker. In fact, he took less time, on average, to pull the trigger on throws than any other quarterback I've tracked. Justin Herbert was generally around average for each metric.

What was Joe Burrow's GPA? ›

Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals)

Burrow maintained a 3.71 GPA in high school.


1. LSU 2019 Championship Season Movie | Geaux Tigers
(LSU Tigers)
2. Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce & Chris Jones headline Nick’s NFL Top 10 | NFL | FIRST THINGS FIRST
(First Things First)
3. Joe Burrow Reacts to Losing Super Bowl vs. LA Rams: "I'd Like To Think I'm Back In This Situation"
(Fanatics View)
4. Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals Rebuild | Madden 20 Franchise
5. Joe Burrow Trade.. Chicago Bears Franchise #14
6. Olivia Dunne shows off her wild flexibility after Nashville trip #shorts
(New York Post Sports)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kelle Weber

Last Updated: 07/30/2023

Views: 6494

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (73 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kelle Weber

Birthday: 2000-08-05

Address: 6796 Juan Square, Markfort, MN 58988

Phone: +8215934114615

Job: Hospitality Director

Hobby: tabletop games, Foreign language learning, Leather crafting, Horseback riding, Swimming, Knapping, Handball

Introduction: My name is Kelle Weber, I am a magnificent, enchanting, fair, joyous, light, determined, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.