Will Joe Burrow play on Monday night when the Bengals take on the Rams? With less than two hours before kickoff, the Bengals' Pro Bowl quarterback is expected to play on Monday night, according to NFL Media.
Burrow's calf is "feeling better," according to the Enquirer, and he will attempt to play against the Rams in a rematch of Super Bowl LVI. He officially enters as a game-time decision, after the team officially listed Burrow as questionable to play. However, according to Jay Glazer, Burrow took first-team reps in Cincy's walkthrough on Sunday, and reportedly has a better shot to play than he did a couple days ago.
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said it would be "doubtful" Burrow would be active if he doesn't start. If the star signal-caller is ultimately ruled out, backup Jake Browning would get the starting nod.
The initial injury caused Burrow to miss a month of training camp and he appeared in pain and limping at the end of the Bengals' Week 2 home loss. Cincinnati is 0-2 to start the season and Burrow has been far from the Super Bowl-caliber player we have seen in years past.
Without the ability to put as much of his lower body into his throws, Burrow can't connect on his patented deep ball. The NFL's highest-paid player on an annual basis -- Burrow signed a five-year, $275 million contract extension on Sept. 9 -- is 0 for 12 on throws of 15 or more air yards this season. He is 0 for 8 to receiver Tee Higgins, 0 for 3 to Chase and 0 for 1 to tight end Irv Smith Jr. This is unprecedented for Burrow as he only had one game without a completion of 15 or more air yards in his first 42 career starts. Now, he has done so in consecutive games. Across the last two seasons, Burrow led the NFL with 27 passing touchdowns of 15 or more air yards.
Joe Burrow passing on throws of 15+ air yards (last 3 seasons)
0% (0-12, last in NFL)
0-1 (T-last in NFL)
|4.9 (33rd, second to last in NFL)
* Most passing touchdowns on throws of 15+ air yards from 2021-22
It's where the Bengals sit in the standings which has the organization split. The Athletic reports there are some in the building who want to see Burrow 100% fully recovered from his calf injury before returning to action, and there are others who worry about missing the playoffs and want their superstar signal-caller active Monday night.
As for Burrow himself, he has not tipped his hand either way and has left the door open, saying earlier in the week (per The Athletic) he's "feeling better. Not as sore. Time heals. So we'll see."
The 26-year-old did not practice on Thursday and was a limited participant on both Friday and Saturday.
If you are going to his teammates for insight on whether he will take the field, you will not get a sure answer from them either. When speaking to the media following Friday's practice session, wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase mentioned that Burrow "didn't really throw too many balls today."
Chase had a hard stance on the situation and does not believe his quarterback should play unless he is fully healthy.
"I told him back then, don't play until you're 100 percent ready to play, so I don't know what he's doing," he said, adding that he doubts that Burrow was 100 percent.
When asked if he thinks Burrow will play, Chase said: "If I had to guess I'm saying no. I'm saying no because I've told him no. My answer never changed from this."
If Burrow does not play, Chase said the winless Bengals would be facing "100 percent adversity. It's stuff we never dealt with and it's not preseason so it actually counts, so it's definitely adversity."
Wide receiver Tyler Boyd, on the other hand, says his prediction is that Burrow will play.
"I know he's taking it day by day. He looked good to me, he always looks good to me whether he's hurting or not," Boyd said. "But I don't want him to go out there if he's not 100 percent. But at the end of the day we gotta go with who we can play with, if it's not him then I'm sure Jake can lead us to the promise land."
Through two games, Burrow has 304 passing yards with two touchdowns, one interception and a completion percentage 56.9%. That adds up to a 70.6 passer rating (29th out of 34 qualified quarterbacks) entering "Monday Night Football."