Early in training camp the Cincinnati Bengals were dealt a tough blow with starting signal-caller Joe Burrow suffering a calf injury. He missed most of camp and the entire preseason.
Burrow returned to the practice field on Aug. 30, and was able to take the field for Week 1. His performance in the Bengals’ 2023 season opener against the Cleveland Browns was as nasty as the weather. Burrow completed less than 50 percent of his passes for 82 yards in a 24-3 loss. He was better in a Week 2, 27-24, loss to the Baltimore Ravens, but would suffer a setback to his health.
The NFL’s highest paid player reinjured his calf late in the game on Sunday, telling reporters afterward that he felt the tweak during the Bengals’ final touchdown drive to reduce the deficit to three points.
“We’re gonna have to wait and see, I’m not sure how it’s gonna feel in the next couple days,” Burrow said to the media. “It’s pretty sore right now. No telling how it’s gonna feel, so we’re just gonna have to take it day by day.”
Burrow tried his best to be optimistic, but an 0-2 start to the season accompanied by his training camp injury flaring up is a combo that landed flush and has the Bengals wobbly. This team entered the season with a Super Bowl window that is rapidly closing.
With Burrow signing that massive contract, the deep Bengals’ roster won’t look the same beginning next season. The road back to the AFC Championship Game was going to be hard enough since the Bengals play in the most competitive division in the conference.
Their schedule eases up a bit the next few weeks, but not enough to overcome Burrow in street clothes. The Bengals host the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3 and face the Tennessee Titans in Nashville Week 4. An 0-2 start is far from insurmountable. An 0-4 start with a gimpy quarterback, however, could put the Bengals too far behind in standings to make the playoffs.