The NFL community froze on July 27 when videos emerged from the Cincinnati Bengals training camp of Joe Burrow limping off the field after rolling out in the pocket.
Burrow was diagnosed with a calf strain, setting him up to miss "a couple of weeks" per Bengals head coach Zac Taylor. Burrow is entering his fourth year in the league and has solidified himself as one of the top QB's in the game, playing a major role in Cincinnati advancing to Super Bowl LVI against the Los Angeles Rams just two season ago.
Burrow's leading receiver from both his college days at LSU and currently on the Bengals Ja'Marr Chase, made the following statement after a training camp practice last week regarding Burrow's injury.
"You don't want to cause no other problems later on in the season. I told him, as long as you're there after week five and on, you know, we're good brotha."
The Bengals week one matchup against the Browns on Sept. 9 would give Burrow a full six weeks of recovery time from when the injury occurred. With the Bengals being true Super Bowl contenders this season, can they afford to play a full four games without their superstar QB? Here's who the Bengals play in the first month of the season:
WEEK 1: at Cleveland Browns
WEEK 2: vs Baltimore Ravens
WEEK 3: vs Los Angeles Rams
WEEK 4: at Tennessee Titans
Not necessarily a cake-walk by any means. I have confidence in the Bengals ability to make the playoffs without Burrow under center for the first four weeks, but every week in the NFL is so crucial for conference contenders due to home field advantage. Burrow has overcome this years AFC favorites in the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills on the road in the playoffs in the past, but having the luxury of playing those teams at home gives you a huge advantage.
When it comes to any form of load management in any sport at any level, I come to the same conclusion. If it is any form of regular season or postseason game and you are cleared to play and feel healthy enough to play, you should get out on the court, field, etc. Chase did give further explanation on the advice he gave his quarterback over the weekend.
"I just want him to be healthy. That's not me telling him to play that certain game, that's just me saying be healthy when you're back. 100 percent healthy," Chase said. "We'd be okay as long as he's there at the end of the season. We worried about the bigger picture not the small picture here. That's where we're trying to win."
Brandon and I break further today on 'In The Zone' from 3 p.m. - 6 p.m. on 96.9 The Game, streaming on the iHeartMedia app.