Burrow’s availability for Week 3 game vs. Rams? ‘Hard to say’

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor said he doesn’t have any updates on Joe Burrow’s calf except that the fourth-year quarterback was still feeling sore Monday.

On the second-to-last play for the offense in Sunday’s loss to Baltimore, Burrow re-aggravated the right calf he strained on July 27. He threw a touchdown pass to Tee Higgins on the next play but limped off the field after that and was trying to work through it on the sideline while the defense failed to get the stop needed for the offense to get another shot at the comeback.

Burrow said he would have gone back in the game if given the opportunity, but now his availability for the Monday Night Football game against the L.A. Rams on Sept. 25 is in question. Taylor could not say for certain Burrow will play, and asked what he needs to see from the quarterback this week to feel comfortable putting him out there, Taylor said “that’s hard to say right now.”

“He did it really one of the last three plays of the game probably, so it’s just sore,” Taylor said. “We haven’t done anything on the field yet.”

Pressed further as to whether it might be best to sit Burrow a week or two to get him back to 100 percent for the long run, Taylor said he wants to hear what the doctors say first before assuming anything.

There had been some uncertainty about how healthy Burrow was in the opener when afterward he said his calf was “good enough” to play better. However, Taylor said he felt like prior to Sunday against Baltimore, Burrow was looking good.

“I felt really good about him,” Taylor said. “You know, I thought he had a great week of practice last week, and only he’s the one that can answer on how he truly feels, but you’d get the sense that he was really good.”

After the game Sunday, Burrow said an injury like his is “always ongoing, … always something that you’re managing,” and he expressed uncertainty over whether he might be dealing with it all season.

“I don’t know,” Burrow said. “It’s tough to tell. It’s tough to look into the future and see that. I’m doing everything I can to get healthy and get that thing the way I need to so I can go out and perform the way I need to win. We’ll see.”

Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase had said last month he told Burrow to take his time coming back from the initial injury, even if that meant waiting until Week 5. He stands by that and would still be in favor of the team shutting him down until he’s back to 100 percent.

Chase took an extra week last year to come back from his hip injury and felt it was the best decision in the long run to make sure he could finish the season. He believes that could be best for Burrow, too.

“I wish we would have did that from the jump, but, live and learn,” Chase said.

“Like I said at the beginning of the season, health is the biggest thing for our quarterback and for the team, period,” Chase added. “Stay healthy. We are playing a long season. It’s what this whole thing was about for us.”

Now the Bengals are trying to bounce back from an 0-2 start with a quarterback who clearly isn’t healthy. The back-to-back losses to open the 2022 season ended up not being a hindrance to the team’s success, as Cincinnati opened 0-3 in the AFC North but still won the division and made the AFC Championship.

However, Burrow was healthy then and even he acknowledged his impact on that turnaround.

“I’m still confident,” Burrow said Sunday. “I feel really confident in all the guys we have in that room. Like I said, we’re going to have to see how that calf feels the next couple of days. I don’t know how it’s going to feel. We’ll see.”

Center Ted Karras said if Burrow isn’t 100 percent and plays, “it puts a lot of onus on the offensive line to play close to perfect.” Taylor and Burrow both praised the play of the offensive line Sunday, allowing just one sack, but Karras said while the Bengals limited pressures and played “a solid game,” it wasn’t good enough.

Karras is still confident Burrow can lead the Bengals back from the 0-2 start.

“We’re coming back,” Karras said. “Joe’s our leader, Joe’s going to get it done for us and my whole goal is to just be my very best to not ever let him down.”

The Bengals play one of the best interior defensive linemen in the league next week with Aaron Donald coming to Paycor Stadium for Monday Night Football.

Taylor said that doesn’t factor into whether Burrow will play or not because “every team is a good team at this point.”

As Burrow said, the Bengals will just have to “wait and see.”


Rams at Bengals, 8:15 p.m., ESPN, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7

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