The Bengals are off to a tough start to the 2023 NFL season and things may get worse before they get better.
After Cincinnati’s Week 2 loss to the Ravens, star quarterback Joe Burrow told the media he “tweaked” the same right calf that caused him to miss nearly the entire preseason.
“I’m not sure how it’s going to feel the next couple days,” Burrow said. “It’s pretty sore right now but no telling how it’s going to feel so I think we’re going to take it day-by-day.”
On Monday, head coach Zac Taylor said it’s hard to say whether Burrow will be ready to play in the Bengals Week 3 “Monday Night Football” matchup with the Rams, and that the team is still in the evaluation process.
If Burrow isn’t able to suit up, who is the next quarterback up on the Bengals’ depth chart?
1. Joe Burrow
Burrow is, of course, the Bengals’ starting quarterback. The 26-year-old recently became the highest-paid player in NFL history, inking a five-year, $275 million deal just days before the start of the 2023 NFL season.
Burrow has been battling a right calf injury since the preseason, and he hasn’t looked 100 percent through two games so far.
The star QB only threw for 82 yards with zero touchdowns in Cincinnati’s season-opening loss against the Browns. He followed that performance with 222 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against the Ravens, but it also came in a losing effort.
After “tweaking” his right calf against Baltimore, it’ll be worth monitoring Burrow’s status all the way up until the Bengals’ “Monday Night Football” showdown against the Rams in Week 3.
2. Jake Browning
If Burrow can’t go, the Bengals will have to turn over the keys of the offense to Browning — the only backup QB on their depth chart.
Browning went undrafted in 2018 after four impressive seasons at Washington. The 2016 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year threw for over 12,000 yards in college, pitching 94 touchdowns to just 34 interceptions with a 64.6 percent completion rate.
In five NFL seasons, this is the first time Browning has made a team’s active roster.
He has only played four snaps in his NFL career — coming at the end of the Bengals’ Week 1 loss to the Browns — and he’s never completed a pass.
This preseason, Browning threw for 277 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions with a 71.1 completion percentage over three games.
Practice squad: Will Grier
Grier is the lone quarterback on the Bengals’ practice squad.
Grier was drafted by the Panthers in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft after three seasons of college football between Florida and West Virginia.
Grier has only appeared in two NFL games, both with Carolina during the 2019 season. He only threw for 228 yards, completed just 53.8 percent of his pass attempts and had four interceptions with zero touchdowns.
He was cut by the Cowboys in August before signing with Cincinnati’s practice squad.