How Did Bengals QB Joe Burrow Look Throwing Against Defenders for the First Time Since Surgery?

Joe Burrow didn't have Ja'Marr Chase or Tee Higgins as the Bengals held their first OTA practice, but the quarterback looked sharp in his next step.

CINCINNATI – Today marked the next step in Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow’s progression following season-ending wrist surgery in November.

For the first time since Nov. 16 in Baltimore when he suffered the wrist injury, Burrow threw passes against defenders as the Bengals moved into Phase III of their voluntary offseason program.

Bengals Coach Zac Taylor Likes What He Sees From QB Joe Burrow

Head coach Zac Taylor and new offensive coordinator Dan Pitcher eased Cincinnati’s offense into the new step with one period of 7-on-7 work, in which Burrow completed 7 of 10 passes.

“I feel really good about where he’s at,” Taylor said of Burrow. “He’s been accurate, he’s been on time, he’s throwing with great velocity and power. You’d have to ask him what he thinks of his performance, exactly. But I like what I see right now.”

In last week’s practice open to the media, Burrow made several off-platform and deep throws. Today’s 7-on-7 period (and the drills before it) were focused on short crosses and out routes.

While Taylor said he was pleased with what he saw from Burrow, he didn’t want to compare today’s performance against any sort of expectations he had for his quarterback because he hadn’t formulated any.

“Unknown,” Taylor said when asked what he expected to see from Burrow. “Until you’ve seen him throw, it’s hard to say, ‘This is what we expect.’

“So obviously, there’s a lot of conversation with him, just making sure we’re not over-doing anything,” Taylor added. “He’s always been a great communicator. Our training staff does a great job with Matt Summers and Nick Cosgray and all those guys. I feel like it’s been a really good offseason for Joe.”

Neither Ja’Marr Chase nor Tee Higgins were present for the voluntary practice. Yet, despite being without his top two targets, Burrow was 6 for 6 on the crossers in his first set of reps.

After backup Jake Browning went 4 for 5 on his passes, Burrow stepped back in for five throws toward the boundary.

The first one produced the offensive play of the day, with Trenton Irwin out-fighting cornerback Mike Hilton for a contested catch near the sideline.

The last one resulted in the defensive play of the day, when cornerback DJ Turner II made a leaping pass deflection on a ball intended for Irwin.

While those individual performances stood out, Taylor said he was more interested in the cerebral element as the team ramped up the competition in the first of 10 practices in Phase III.

“Really, the basics — communications, alignment, urgency, not making the same mistake twice,” Taylor said when asked what he is focusing on during this phase. “It’s good. You sit in the classroom, and you go through all this stuff, and you think you’ve got it, and then you get out there on the field, and you’ve got to process it in real time. It’s a little bit different.

“This isn’t training camp. This isn’t the regular season. But it is good to start to get that chemistry and camaraderie together,” he added. “We do the 7-on-7 live, so guys get more reps, actually get to throw against the defense and try to cover these receivers. It’s good work for us.”

Burrow ended his day by rewarding a few dozen fans who showed up to watch the team cross Central Avenue, which divides the practice fields from Paycor Stadium, but stopping to greet the spectators and sign autographs.

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Cincinnati will have two more practices this week. The next one open to the media will be next Tuesday, June 4. The following week will be the mandatory minicamp, which runs June 11-13 and marks the last activity until the team reports for training camp in late July.

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