Bengals Training Camp Report: Joe Burrow Returns
The legend of Seamless Joe continues.
The Reds had their Field of Dreams moment a few days ago in Iowa. On Sunday, the Bengals stuck to the theme of classic 1980s baseball movies when they opted for “The Natural,” featuring their version of Roy Hobbs.
Joe Burrow, whose 2021 Wonderboy season put the Bengals in the Super Bowl, took the field for the first time in pads at training camp just as thunder rolled through downtown Cincinnati. Under the threat of lightning, head coach Zac Taylor delayed the No.9’s return and training for 15 minutes.
But when he returned to the Kettering Health Practice Fields, it was worth the wait. Burrow, 19 days after his appendix was removed, did not run. Yet he even surprised some of his teammates in a Hobbsian-style batting practice when he not only made it into the seven-on-seven period, but stuck around long enough to throw ten passes against the starters. and replacements.
“I just thought he was going to do on-air routes,” said catcher Stanley Morgan, Jr. “Knowing Joe, he probably got into it.”
“It was really up to him how he felt,” offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said. “If he wanted to do a little more today and he was going through the individuals and the facilities and the routes and felt pretty good throwing and wanted to try… And he just took it.”
That’s pretty much what he’s been doing since arriving two years ago when the Bengals heard the voice.
“If he comes, you will build him.”
“He looked great. He’ll never lose his stuff,” catcher Tyler Boyd said. “He made good reads, cut up the defense. He’s the same Joe Burrow who took us to the Super Bowl.”
The defense thought so too. Center linebacker Logan Wilson, who made his first return to team drills since February’s shoulder surgery, observed, “He didn’t look any different.”
Burrow would probably tell you that he always recovers his speed and timing. But his footwork certainly didn’t seem to have receded in individuals, when quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher challenges his guys to make different types of throws with different degrees of hindrance.
And if the ball has yet to click the way it wants, it certainly buzzed with precision in the seven-on-seven third period.
“I thought he looked good. It’s a good start,” Taylor said. “He does a good job of taking care of himself. When you have your starting quarterback in the mix, someone who is as impactful as Joe, it adds a lot of energy.”
The first defense certainly felt it and they made sure Burrow had to hold the ball for checks on his first two shots at seven-on-seven. “These guys amped it up,” Morgan said.
“For Joe, he always tries to get the best out of his guys. He didn’t say a whole lot today,” cornerback Mike Hilton said. “I’m pretty sure once he gets his groove back he’ll start talking. We know what Joe is capable of. Just seeing him here is good for us. Having our leader back is a good sign.”
On his second pass, Burrow threw him over medium-wide receiver Tee Higgins and might have been a hair behind when Hilton broke him. But the more he threw, the warmer he got. It was supposed to be his last pass, but he kept going and he must be glad he did.