Burrow feeling ‘great’ getting back into Bengals offseason workouts

CINCINNATI -- Joe Burrow watched the Super Bowl the next day after the loss, just like he would any other week when it was routine to review film before moving on to preparations for the upcoming opponent. Some of his Cincinnati Bengals teammates decided not to re-live that game right away, or at all, but Burrow needed to see what things he could improve before closing the books on the 2021 season.

And just like every other loss, Burrow quickly turned the page and has no concerns about the disappointment of defeat lingering into 2022.

“Like I said before the Super Bowl, when you guys always ask me about playing in these big games, I’ve played in state championships, played in a ton of big games in college and at the time, those are the biggest games of your life, just like the Super Bowl was,” Burrow said in his first interview with local media since the Super Bowl. “I’ve lost a bunch of those games before it. I know how to handle losing and come back stronger.”

“Obviously we were disappointed after the game and heartbroken, but we still had a good time that night. Still got together and had camaraderie and all that. We had a little fun. I think we were able to celebrate what we did and at the same time (be) upset about what we didn’t do.”

Burrow didn’t need the film to see Ja’Marr Chase open on the last play as he made a last-ditch effort to get a short pass off to the nearest receiver, in that case Samaje Perine, before Aaron Donald took him to the ground.

The third-year quarterback said he checked that go route and anticipated throwing it but just didn’t have the time. Burrow didn’t want to dwell on that, though, and the Bengals addressed the need to relieve some pressure off Burrow by adding three new offensive linemen in free agency.

Now he will have former Dallas right tackle La’el Collins, former Buccaneers right guard Alex Cappa and former Patriots center Ted Karras blocking for him – the latter two that won Super Bowl rings with Tom Brady.

“They have been great so far,” Burrow said. “Really taking ownership of what they need to do to understand the offense. Coming here and give everything they have in the little OTAs or whatever you want to call them, the individual periods that we are having. They have been great in the weight room, great in the locker room, they have been exactly what we wanted.”

After Burrow took 70 sacks in the Bengals’ first Super Bowl season since 1988, the Bengals couldn’t ignore that need on the offensive line. He already was coming back from major knee surgery last offseason and played through multiple injuries in 2021, including spraining his right knee in the Super Bowl.

Burrow said he just needed a week of downtime to recover. After that, he was back at it. He is happier when he is working out and not taking hits for several months is all the break he needs. The Bengals are in Phase 2 of Organized Team Activities and not even wearing helmets and pads yet.

“I feel great,” Burrow said. “Obviously, this is my first offseason in the NFL so I’ve been able to take advantage of that as far as my body and my throwing and my mind and all of that. Obviously, I’ve been grinding, but it’s also been relaxing not having to worry about if I’m going to be ready for the season. I can just focus on getting my body right, making sure I’m healthy and then relaxing.”

One positive sign for Burrow is that he is now practicing without a knee brace. He said he’s not sure if it’s a thing of the past completely, but he doesn’t anticipate wearing it.

This time last year, he was on the field for OTAs doing all the drills but with limitations and no one was allowed within about 10 feet of him, just to ensure he didn’t take any bumps. So much of the offseason workout program was about Burrow getting comfortable again and then improving his deep ball with 2021 No. 5 overall draft pick Ja’Marr Chase.

Burrow got that down and said now his focus is just improving his overall game, making tweaks here and there.

“At this point I’m not going to have a big overhaul of what I am doing,” Burrow said. “I’m just looking to refine my entire game as a whole.”

This year he expects “a more technical offense that really maintains the explosiveness and efficiency throughout the entire year.” He thought the offense got off to a slow start last year because the Bengals “kind of just skidded” and weren’t doing everything they needed to do to win games.

Burrow has full confidence the Bengals can get back to another Super Bowl.

“We have the experience now,” Burrow said. “Going into last year, we knew we were good, but I think going into the playoffs, we knew we could win but we weren’t really sure what it took. We just went out there and played really hard and together as a team and it worked out. Now, we know what it takes and we have that experience in our back pockets going forward.”

About the Author