Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor joked — sort of — that he would only need to see one healthy practice rep from quarterback Joe Burrow to feel confident enough to start him in the season opener on Sept. 10 in Cleveland.
Likewise, wide receiver Tyler Boyd said it will take one drive to re-ignite the chemistry between the two.
Tyler Boyd Not Worried About Getting Back Up To Speed With Joe Burrow
If those outside the walls of Paycor Stadium are wondering how the Bengals are going to come out of the chute after Burrow missed all but the first two practices of training camp, the players and coaches inside the building are void of doubt or concern.
“Joe hasn’t really been out there, but at the same time, I believe in Joe,” Boyd said. “I trust him. I know he’s still gettin’ work in behind the scenes.”
No one has caught more passes from Burrow than Boyd, who has 192 career receptions tossed by the 2020 No. 1 pick, with Tee Higgins a close second at 191.
Most Career Catches From Joe Burrow
- Tyler Boyd: 192
- Tee Higgins: 191
- Ja’Marr Chase: 165
- Joe Mixon: 122
- Samaje Perine: 69
- C.J. Uzomah: 57
- Hayden Hurst: 51
- A.J. Green: 34
- Drew Sample: 32
- Giovani Bernard: 31
But those official numbers are just a sliver of the work they’ve put in during practices during the season, OTAs, and even through three truncated training camps.
“I know when Joe sees me and throws the ball, I’ll know where he wants me to be, and I know I’m gonna do a great job of making separation and making plays for him,” Boyd said.
Most of the concern about how quickly the Bengals can get up to speed once Burrow returns is related to last year’s 0-2 start when he was coming off the appendectomy and still not back to full strength for the opener against the Steelers, when he threw a career-high four interceptions, lost a fumble, and was sacked seven times.
Taylor has made it clear the calf strain Burrow has dealt with this summer will have no such lingering physical effects. But as was the case last year, the offensive starters, minus eight snaps for Jonah Williams, will not see any preseason action.
Boyd said he agrees with not playing Saturday at Washington but not with the decision to rest everyone last week at Atlanta.
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) August 18, 2023
“If we didn’t play Week 2 without our starting quarterback, there’s no point in going out there (Saturday),” he said. “I do feel like we should have played Week 2. But at the end of the day, I’m kind of seasoned, and I know how to go about things. I know how to prepare each and every week regardless of whether I’m playing or not.”
Boyd later clarified that his desire to play last week wasn’t related to any correlation between no snaps in the preseason last year and the 0-2 start.
“We just started slow,” he said. “I don’t think it had nothing to do with us not playing in the preseason. It was just a matter of we’ve got to come out and start fast. Just come out and dial in and outwork them guys, just scheme them up and make ourselves available for the quarterback. I feel pretty confident going out there in Week 1 and doing what we supposed to do.”
The Bengals are 1-2 in season openers in the Burrow era, and they are an ill-timed Dalvin Cook fumble away from being 0-3.
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