Why Joe Burrow is a blessing and a curse for Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor

LSU football quarterback Joe Burrow (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
LSU football quarterback Joe Burrow (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

Former LSU football quarterback Joe Burrow will lead the Cincinnati Bengals’ offense as a rookie in 2020.

The expectations for former LSU football quarterback Joe Burrow as a rookie are going to be sky-high.

Burrow, who was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, is already viewed by most analysts as the favorite to win the NFL rookie of the year award.

But beyond individual accolades, Burrow will be expected to turn around a Bengals franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since 1990.

There’s no doubt that Burrow has the talent and confidence to be successful, but how fast can he turn Cincinnati into a contender?

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is hoping it will be fast because his job likely depends on it.

The presence of Joe Burrow puts more pressure on Zac Taylor

The Bengals hired Taylor in early 2019 because they knew the franchise was on the verge of making a change at the quarterback position.

And they needed a coach who could develop a young quarterback at a high level.

Burrow is that quarterback. Which means it’s time for Taylor to work his magic.

With Burrow’s talent and the accompanying hype, it means Taylor will be expected to turn the former LSU standout into a perennial Pro-Bowl quarterback. Anything less will be a colossal disappointment.

So while Taylor is fortunate to have a quarterback as talented as Burrow to work with, it also turns the pressure up on him as a head coach.

If Burrow doesn’t quickly develop into a star, then Cincinnati will immediately look for another quarterback whisperer who can make it happen. The Bengals aren’t going to waste precious time with Burrow. He’s not a project quarterback. Burrow is expected to be an immediate difference-maker. It’s up to Taylor to make sure that happens promptly.

If Taylor is successful with Burrow, he’ll ascend to the Sean McVay tier of NFL coaches. But if he fails, he’ll go the way of other offensive-minded coaches like Pat Shurmur, Jay Gruden, and Freddie Kitchens (all fired and no longer head coaches).

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It may not seem fair, but that’s how it goes in the NFL.