The Bengals have a franchise quarterback, already one of the best in the league. With that luxury comes a responsibility, and the Bengals seem to realize it.
“He’s the real deal,” Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin said Tuesday regarding Joe Burrow, via Ben Baby of ESPN.com. “Our job, like I said when we drafted him, is to support him in the best way we can. This league is about quarterbacks. And when you have one, you’ve gotta support him the best way you can.”
Amen to that. And supporting Burrow means not only putting better players around him (specifically offensive lineman) but also persuading those players to play for the Bengals. The allure of playing with Burrow, strong as it may be, will go only so far. The Bengals at some point will have to change the way they do business, starting with fully guaranteeing payments beyond the first year of a veteran contract.
“I know what the narrative is,” coach Zac Taylor told reporters, via ESPN.com. “I get it. We don’t want our quarterback to be sacked or hit like he was. At the same time the other side of it is those guys did a lot of great things for us.”
He’s right, but they didn’t do enough to win the Super Bowl, in large part because the offensive line couldn’t keep the Rams’ defensive line from creating havoc in key moments of the game. So while the line wasn’t a sufficiently significant liability to keep the team from winning the AFC, it definitely was a reason (if not the reason) the Bengals failed to bring home their first Lombardi Trophy ever.