When the Cincinnati Bengals kicked off training camp this year, the expectation was that the offense would look explosive from Day 1. With Joe Burrow surrounded by offensive weapons like Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and Ja'Marr Chase, it seemed like the Bengals would be in a position to move the ball at will against what was supposed to be an overmatched defense. However, that hasn't been the case so far.
Through the first week of training camp, the defense has dominated while Burrow has struggled. The Bengals quarterback arguably hit a low point on Tuesday during the team's first fully padded practice of training camp. In 11-on-11 drills, Burrow completed just 5 of 12 passes with one interception, according to passing stats from the Athletic.
It wasn't just Tuesday, though, as Burrow was struggling before that -- when the team wasn't in full pads -- and Boyd has a theory on why his quarterback has been having so many problems.
"I think he's kind of a little iffy on his knee, but it's kind of hard to tell," Boyd told reports on Wednesday. "In my opinion, I feel like he's ready to go, but I also think he doesn't want to do too much."
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Boyd likely hit the nail on the head. Burrow is only nine months removed from having surgery on a torn ACL. Although he's been cleared to practice, he's already admitted that he's not quite at 100%. Training camp marks the first time since his surgery that he's faced any sort of serious pass rush and it's not surprising that he's been a little timid.
Although Burrow has been struggling, Bengals coach Zac Taylor made it clear that no one in the organization is panicking right now.
"I think it's the whole unit right now," Taylor said of the offensive struggles, via NFL.com. "We're just getting a feel for each other. You know, you'd like to be throwing touchdowns on every play right now, but we've got some progress to be made, but there's no cause for panic for any reason for that. We've still got 39 days before our first game. We've got a lot of practices left to be had. I'm excited because we know we can continue to get better and be more detailed, and that's gonna come."
Burrow knows he needs to get comfortable playing on his surgically repaired knee, which is likely one reason why he wants to play in the preseason, even though Taylor and Bengals owner Mike Brown would rather not see him out there.
As for Boyd, he also added that Burrow hasn't looked as bad as everyone makes it sound.
"I think he looks good," Boyd said. "Just by watching him move around in the pocket, his pocket presence seems great."
Taylor gave Burrow the day off on Wednesday, even though it sounds like the Bengals quarterback didn't really want to sit the day out.
"He wants to be in there with the guys continuing to gain chemistry with these receivers so it's not something he wants to do, but he's not the coach, though, he doesn't get to make that decision," Taylor said.
The fact that Burrow has struggled during the first week of training camp isn't a huge concern, but if he's still struggling like this two weeks from now, then the Bengals could be in some serious trouble.