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Joe Burrow Learning Bengals Offense Amid Hiatus Is 'No Concern,' Says HC Taylor

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2020

CORRECTS LOCATION TO THE PLAINS, OHIO, INSTEAD OF ATHENS, OHIO - In this still image from video provided by the NFL, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow appears in The Plains, Ohio, during the NFL football draft Thursday, April 23, 2020. (NFL via AP)
Uncredited/Associated Press

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor says the team has "no concern" with Joe Burrow learning its system despite all team workouts being indefinitely postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Taylor told Peter King of NBC Sports:

"I don't think schematically there's gonna be anything that's overly concerning with him. It's just the physical reps of playing against the speed in the NFL. And the different defenses you'll face and the disguises that those guys can utilize. As smart as you are, sometimes you just need those physical reps. You need to train your eyes to see them at this level. He played in the SEC. You saw how many picks went in the first round from the SEC. It's gonna get you as prepared as it can.

"But nothing can replicate what an actual NFL defense looks and feels like on game day, particularly in our division. So, you just want those physical reps as much as you can get them. We'll take it—every practice they'll give to us when the time comes. We'll utilize all of them. Do our best to get up to speed and make sure we account for all those physical reps that may be missing right now."

The Bengals selected Burrow with the top overall pick Thursday night. While fellow Round 1 QBs Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Jordan Love all have veteran options ahead of them who may or will take the Week 1 snaps, Cincinnati took Burrow with the expectation he'll be the opening week starter.

Burrow is coming off perhaps the single greatest season for a college quarterback. He threw for 5,671 yards and an NCAA record 60 touchdowns, leading LSU to a 15-0 record and a national championship victory over Clemson.

Burrow, who was equipped with arguably the best group of skill-position players in the country at LSU, joins a Bengals offense that isn't looking too shabby after the draft.

Cincinnati added Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins at the top of Round 2, giving Burrow a group that also includes Tyler Boyd, A.J. Green and John Ross. Higgins, Boyd and Ross are all 25 or under, and Green is one of the most reliable veteran wideouts in the NFL when healthy. Add running back Joe Mixon to the list, and the Bengals are a good line away from a strong offense on paper.

Burrow spent last season in a spread offense at LSU, which allowed him to use his quick-read ability and accuracy to find open targets.

Taylor did not impress much in his first year as the Bengals' head coach. Cincinnati's offense trended toward the conservative far more than you'd expect from a 36-year-old coach, and his scheme lacked any real signs of innovation. Hired after spending just one year as Sean McVay's quarterbacks coach in Los Angeles, Taylor perhaps has to prove himself more than Burrow heading into 2020.

If Taylor doesn't alter his own scheme to look more like LSU's, it should be the young coach, not the quarterback, who takes the brunt of the criticism.

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