Joe Burrow has received his first accolade at the NFL level. The No. 1 overall pick and reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Burrow was tabbed as one of the Bengals’ seven captains on Wednesday, joining receiver A.J. Green, running back Giovani Bernard, linebacker Josh Bynes, defensive backs Vonn Bell and Shawn Williams, and punter Kevin Huber. 

Burrow, who will start at quarterback when the Bengals host the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, said that being named a team captain was one of his goals entering his rookie season. 

“I really didn’t expect to be a captain, but I couldn’t be happier to represent our team and our offense,” Burrow said during a virtual meeting with the media. “We have a lot of guys who could have been [named captain], but I’m happy that my team decided that I should be the one to get that honor.”

Burrow, an Ohio native who grew up less than three hours away from Cincinnati, is the only quarterback from his rookie class that will be a Week 1 starter. Justin Herbert, the No. 6 overall pick, will be on the sidelines when the Chargers and Bengals meet on Sunday. And while he is looking forward to starting, Burrow is not getting caught up in any comparisons with the rest of this year’s quarterback class. 

“I try not to focus on all the pressure stuff,” Burrow said. “I feel like I’m going to be ready to play. I feel like I’m going to play well. I’m not ready to play yet. I still have a few more days of preparation that need to come in, but I’m feeling pretty good right now.”

Joe Burrow


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Burrow will look to be the Bengals’ first quarterback to be named Rookie of the Year since Greg Cook in 1969.

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Bengals coach Zac Taylor is also not paying attention to the hype surrounding his quarterback. Taylor said as much when asked on Wednesday what it is like to coach someone who some are calling a generational talent. 

“I don’t go that far yet,” said Taylor, who served as Jared Goff’s quarterbacks coach in Los Angeles before taking the Bengals job last offseason. “He’s still got a lot to learn. He hasn’t played in a game yet. But it’s certainly exciting when you see a guy whose approach is as good as you’ve ever been around. That’s what you want as a coach. 

“You want guys that love ball, that love talking about ball, but also have that right balance to where they’re fun to be around. Their teammates enjoy being around them, their coaches love being around them, but they certainly have that edge to them in the right moments to kick everybody in the butts to get them going. That’s a fun type of person to be around, and we have a lot of those guys in the locker room right now.” 

Despite not having minicamp or a preseason, Burrow said he is comfortable with where the Bengals offense is entering their first game of the season. Specifically, Burrow is happy with the continuity of the offense despite the little time they’ve had together on the practice field. 

“We feel very comfortable with each other,” Burrow said. “I feel very comfortable with how my guys are running routes and how the ball is going to be placed. That was big. When you don’t have spring ball, that’s one thing you kind of worry about, but that’s behind us.”

Burrow said he has developed a rapport with Green, a seven-time Pro Bowler who is back after missing most of the last two seasons with a foot injury. 

“The one thing about A.J. is he’s very dramatic in the way that he runs routes,” Burrow said, “so it’s very easy for a quarterback to read when and where he’s going to break. And he’s always right where you need him to be. He understands the offense, each route and how it plays off of the other routes.”

While he is still in preparation mode for Sunday, Burrow already knows two players on the Chargers’ defense that he will have to avoid if he and the Bengals are going to have success. 

“Obviously, they have [Josa] Bosa and [Melvin] Ingram, two of the best pass rushers in the league,” Burrow said. “So I’m going to have to get the ball out of my hands quickly and know what I’m looking at. If I don’t know what I’m looking at every snap, it’s going to be a long day. Those guys will get to me quick. But I know my O-line will be ready for it, and I’ll be ready for it as well.”


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