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No quarterback suffered more layoffs last year than Joe Burrow. In fact, in NFL history, only two quarterbacks have been taken down more times than Burrow in a single season, including the playoffs. The Bengals star’s quarterback was slapped 70 times from behind the scrimmage line, just six fewer than David Carr, who was martyred with 76 sacks in 16 games in 2005.
Close to an unlikely Super Bowl win, the Bengals put almost all their chips in to add giants to the offensive line to protect Burrow. La’el Collins, Alex Cappa and Ted Karras will now complete the offensive line which will include second-year guard Jackson Carman and former first-round left tackle Jonah Williams.
The Bengals offensive line is arguably the most improved unit ahead of the 2022 season. With the number 9 performing despite a shaky offensive line, it is very exciting to imagine what he will be able to do with more effective protection. Especially since his receivers Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd will all be back. The tight end Hayden Hurst was also added to the Bengals infraction. However, we must remain cautious in the expectations of Hurst, who in four seasons has never really shone as a starter, who will already be on his third team.
The only shadow on the horizon of the Bengals before the start of the season and the march towards Burrow’s glory: the champion represents a doubtful case for the first game of the season due to the rupture of the appendix he suffered at the end of July. Still equally motivated, Burrow approaches this event with an idea in mind. Returning to the game: “I was in the hospital for several days and I was starting to feel sick. Getting back on the pitch as soon as possible with my teammates was important for me. “
Finally the right answer to Andrew Luck’s departure?
The last time the Colts won a playoff match was with Andrew Luck as quarterback in 2018. Since then, Luck has announced a surprise retirement in 2019 and the Colts have had to fall back on Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz as starting quarterback for the last three seasons. With the acquisition of Matt Ryan, he is a different starting fourth quarterback who will start his first game of the season in four seasons.
Carson Wentz’s experiment seemed to pay off until a fishtail end of season, crowned by a worst-moment underperformance against the gloomy Jacksonville Jaguars in week 18, concluded the Colts season. The previous season, Philip Rivers had fulfilled his mandate by taking the Colts to the playoffs before dropping the flag against the Buffalo Bills in the first fight. In 2019, Jacoby Brissett failed to take Indianapolis to the playoffs with a 7-9 season.
Of all these quarterbacks, none have Matt Ryan’s résumé when it came time to join the horseshoe roster. Certainly Philip Rivers showed up at Indy with around 59,271 past yards and 397 touchdowns, but he never won the MVP award or reached the Super Bowl final as the first pick of the 2009 draft with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015.
Matty Ice he can count on the excellent Jonathan Taylor in the backfield and on an excellent attacking line, but it is in reception that doubts arise. Michael Pittman Jr. was born in 2021, but the same can’t be said of Parris Campbell, who hasn’t been able to walk the field consistently since he joined the NFL. Novice Alec Pierce could see a major role after being selected in the second round. Tight end Mo Alie-Cox is capable of good times here and there, but we’re not talking about an elite player in his position.
What about Lawrence’s progression?
The Jaguars will most likely still be in the NFL underworld. Unless, of course, under Doug Pederson, Trevor Lawrence is having a fabulous progression. It seems obvious that the Jags will not be in the picture, but it will be interesting to see what the No. 1 pick of 2021 has in store for him in his second season on the Goodell Tour. After all, it’s not uncommon to see a player explode after a year on the circuit. He talks to Joe Burrow or Patrick Mahomes.
Without all the chaos surrounding former manager Urban Meyer in particular and with a season of experience behind him, Lawrence will most likely be able to take his game up a notch. But despite all the talent we know and a season of adaptation, Clemson’s former quarterback simply doesn’t have the weapons to allow him to compete with the best bouts in the league.
The Jaguars CEO has offered generous contracts to receiver Christian Kirk and tight end Evan Engram to support their young quarterback, but let’s face it, it’s not the biggest crop in the world. Engrams have a tendency to miss easy catches and lose focus, as well as being infirmary regulars. For his part, Kirk has never reached the 1,000-yard milestone received in four seasons. Offering him 21 million a season for four years is a high risk and a significant financial commitment.
Of the top three overall picks named here, Lawrence will likely have the steepest slope this season with a far less talented team around him. The progress of the Jaguars will have to go through his shoulders, but especially his arm … and maybe his legs!