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TMF: Joe Burrow Is Here To Stay. Plus: It’s Senior Bowl Week!
Joe Burrow is really good and he's not going anywhere anytime soon. Plus: Notes and thoughts from day one of Senior Bowl practices here in Mobile, Alabama.
The Cincinnati Bengals have Joe Burrow. And it’s safe to say they’re pretty darn happy they do.
Two years ago, the Cincinnati Bengals were a 2-14 team with so many questions that even Twitter users couldn’t provide the answers to them all. Yet looking back, it seems as if it were all meant to be. Because the Bengals fate had them playing awful football in a year that allowed them the rights to draft their guy in Joe Burrow.
Coming off arguably the best season a collegiate quarterback has ever had, Bengals fans were deservingly pumped. We all saw Burrow’s magic back at LSU. We all witnessed the historic Championship season in Baton Rouge. We all watched on as Burrow connected with his pal Ja’Marr Chase, time and time again, in what’s now molding into an historically electric QB-WR duo.
So, when Cincinnati selected Burrow with the first overall draft pick two years ago, we all knew he could be special for the Bengals.
But believing and thinking are far different than that of seeing. And throughout the 2021 NFL season, we’ve seen it. We’ve seen who Joe Burrow is, in just his second season in the league.
We’ve seen it all too well. It’s a nice thing to see too, if you’re into winning football that is.
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THE FRONT: Joe Burrow and one more.
Joe Burrow defeated Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Not just once, but twice. In one season. Pretty good for a game manager, eh?
Reading between the lines, even Mahomes seems to recognize just how good Burrow is. Tom Brady battled it out with Peyton Manning all those years. They made one another better. And they knew it.
After the overtime win, Mahomes embraced Burrow, telling him to “Go win it all.”
Joe Burrow isn’t just a rising young quarterback in the league. No. He’s on his way to becoming a superstar. If he’s not already there, of course. Sunday’s astonishing comeback over Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs was another example of that sentiment.
“We’ve been a second-half team all year,” Burrow said after fighting back to beat the Chiefs in overtime on Sunday.
“We didn’t want to be, but that’s how it worked out.”
Burrow and the entire Bengals offense has to watch on throughout most of the first half as Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs had their way with Cincinnati’s defense. But as the ole saying goes, ‘It’s not over ‘til it’s over.’
And it wasn’t over in Burrow’s mind. Not one bit.
“I don't know if you ever want to be down 21-3… not the most exciting position to be in.” Burrow said after the game.
After falling down 21-3, Burrow led the Bengals on a streak scoring 24 consecutive points to take the lead late in the game. But Mahomes kept fighting back, driving the Chiefs down the field to tie the game at the end of regulation. Not another coin toss catastrophe… Josh Allen sighs. Kansas City won the coin toss, but a critical interception from Mahomes put the ball in the hands of Joe Burrow. And he refused to let Mahomes have the ball again.
Burrow drove the Bengals offense down field, setting up the eventual Evan McPherson field goal to seal a shocking win for Cincinnati. A win that punched their ticket to Super Bowl LVI.
“I never feel like we are out of it,” Burrow said postgame.
After the historic win, Burrow spoke with CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson, and was quick to credit the entire team around him:
"Our defense was unbelievable in the second half," Burrow said.
"They had a great plan on the defensive side against us. Usually when you lose a coin flip to those guys you're going home. But our defense really stepped up and made plays in the second half. And on offense we made plays when we had to. I thought our offensive line played really well all day. And we started to run the ball a little bit at the end.”
“That's exciting. Big win for us."
Indeed, a big win for the entire team. An exciting win for the city of Cincinnati.
For Burrow, he knows what’s next. One more.
I LIKE, DON’T LIKE…
I like… that we’re about to watch two NFL head coaches under the age of 40 coach against one another in a Super Bowl. Sean McVay and Zac Taylor have bright futures in this league if they continue this pace. In a league in desperate need of improved coaching, that’s pretty darn cool, if you ask me.
I don’t like… the NFL’s statement in response to the lawsuit filed by former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. "We will defend against these claims, which are without merit." Without merit? The NFL looks awfully bad today. And I have a feeling it’ll only get worse from here. More people will speak up thanks to courageous efforts from Flores.
I like… the statement Brian Flores shared with NFL Network reporter Cameron Wolfe. I like it a lot. “It was time to stop being quiet about the injustices that are happening. This was long overdue. There’s plenty of racism that need to be exposed.”
I don’t like… Kyle Shanahan’s fourth quarter coaching decisions. As for my reasoning, I think these numbers speak for themselves:
I like… the Raiders hiring Josh McDaniels. Everyone deserves a second chance, right? More importantly, if you watched the introductory press conference, McDaniels talked glowingly about the mistakes he feels he made in Denver. He placed a stremphasispsis on the people. Coaching isn’t just about being a smart football mind. It’s about the people, and the culture. I think McDaniels deserved this opportunity and it’s up to him what he makes of it.
SENIOR BOWL WEEK!
We’re here in Mobile, Alabama for The Senior Bowl. And like all of you, we’re excited to watch these quarterbacks live and in person. There isn’t a consensus QB1 (yet) in the 2022 class. But that could change as early as this week. Senior Bowl practices began earlier today, and I’ve gathered a few quick hitters I took away from day one of practices.
–Malik Willis possibly had 3 to 4 of the best throws of the day. In that same breath, he had a few of the worst throws of the day too. You guessed it; inconsistency remains Willis’ biggest challenge throughout the draft cycle.
Despite the inaccuracy, the traits I saw this afternoon were what truly stood out with Willis. No quarterback at the Senior Bowl has electric zip on the ball quite like Willis. What’s interesting about the misses he had today was they were almost exclusively on intermediate/short routes. Could his timing be stronger deep down the field than through the middle? Maybe. I see a lot of mechanical issues as many have discussed when watching his tape. His anticipation and footwork continue to play a role in his inaccuracies.
But overall, the immense physical traits that we see on film were on full display today in Mobile. Willis is far and away the most talented quarterback prospect.
From where I was sitting today, Malik Willis was the most impressive quarterback on the field.
–Christian Watson looked like the fastest receiver today. The 6’4’’ vertical threat out of North Dakota State displayed excellent route running throughout one-on-one’s and made several big-time contested catches showing off some of his athletic ability. Watson showed great hands and tracking ability throughout the afternoon.
I came into the day thinking Boise State’s Khalil Shakir would ‘wow’ me immediately. But instead, it was Watson that impressed me most from the wide receiver group.
–Kenny Pickett looked bigger than I expected at today’s practices. As for the practice sessions, he was fine from where I was sitting. He didn’t wow me with any of his throws but he made several good decisions and showed his accuracy across the field. In my opinion, Malik Willis, Sam Howell, and maybe even Bailey Zappe all had better days today than Pickett.
ASK ME ANYTHING
–Any thoughts on why Brady left out the Patriots in his retirement post?
It wasn’t by accident, that’s for sure. If I had to guess, I’d say there may still be some underlying challenges within that relationship. Or… was it a member of the Patriots organization that leaked the retirement news to Schefter and Darlington?
–If the draft were tomorrow and you had to select a quarterback at No. 6, who would it be and why?
Malik Willis. Upside and physical traits.
–Do you believe Derek Carr will want to stay with the Raiders and work with Josh McDaniels?
Yeah, I think Carr will do just fine with McDaniels. He’ll like playing in that offense too, opinion.
–Who will be the first WR drafted?
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