Fri Jul 31 3:08pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
In this Feb. 27, 2020, file photo, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow watches a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow acknowledged he had a little extra energy when he stepped on the practice field for his first walkthrough with the Cincinnati Bengals. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
After waiting a few extra months to get on the practice field for the Cincinnati Bengals for the first time, No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow had a little extra energy.
''Everyone's super anxious to have pads on and start getting some live reps,'' Burrow said Friday. ''We had our first walkthrough today. Everyone was fired up for that I think I was thrown in a little harder than I should have been in a walkthrough, but it felt good to be out there.''
The Bengals are also happy to have Burrow, hoping their search for the franchise quarterback who can end the NFL's longest active drought without a playoff win is complete.
It's a tall task for the Heisman Trophy winner who grew up a few hours away in Athens, Ohio. The Bengals last won a playoff game following the 1990 season.
Since then, they have lost the third most regular-season games in the NFL, gone through 18 starting quarterbacks and had just seven winning seasons.
Each of those winning campaigns ended with a first-round playoff exit. Former No. 1 overall pick and Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer lost twice in the postseason for the Bengals, Andy Dalton had four defeats and A.J. McCarron lost in the 2015 season after Dalton got hurt late in the regular season.
Now it's on Burrow's shoulders to reverse all that. No pressure, kid.
''It's just football,'' he said. ''It's just doing what I've always done. Continue to work the way I've always worked. Obviously I'm not going to get complacent. I haven't done anything yet. So I'm going to come to work every day, be the hardest worker that I can and lead my guys to the best of my ability.''
A quick turnaround from last year's 2-14 season in Cincinnati won't be easy. Of the 24 quarterbacks drafted first overall since the merger before Burrow, only Andrew Luck posted a winning record as a rookie, and the group won less than one-third of their starts.
Making matters even harder this year will be the lack of an offseason program and preseason games to help Burrow get up to speed and build chemistry with his receivers.
He spent the down time in the offseason because of the COVID-19 pandemic working out at home in Athens, practicing small details he didn't need in college like how to call out a play in the huddle. He also got some advice from 1998 No. 1 overall pick Peyton Manning and had a few informal workouts with some of his receivers, but will try to accelerate the process as much as possible early in camp.
''Everybody has to adapt to what we're doing right now,'' Burrow said. ''The teams that are going to win the most are the teams that adapted the best to the situation that we're in. So I feel like I've done a fairly good job at adapting to the situation. But I guess we'll find out. We'll see on Sundays how many wins we have.''
Burrow comes into the NFL having experienced success and failure in college. He was beaten out as the starter at Ohio State by Dwayne Haskins and then transferred to LSU. He then struggled his first year as a starter, completing only 57.8% of his passes in 2018 before breaking through in a record-setting 2019 campaign.
Burrow completed 76.3% of his passes last season, throwing an FBS-record 60 touchdowns and only six interceptions while leading LSU to a 15-0 record and national championship.
That play and his demeanor have helped him quickly gain the confidence of coach Zac Taylor, who has already made him the starter, and veterans on the team.
''That makes you feel good for sure,'' Burrow said. ''I'm going to have to continue to do my job. If I don't play well, all that goes out of the window. So that's the one thing that I'm focused on right now is playing really, really well and doing my job.''
August 5th: ADP Value
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins was selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft and has a high ceiling without a doubt, especially since he will be catching passes from No. 1 overall selection Joe Burrow. Both rookies have built a rapport already as the duo conducted workouts together during the offseason. Higgins finished his final season at Clemson with 59 catches and 13 touchdowns off of 1,167 yards. While he is a risky selection in redraft leagues this season due to his potential limited playing time, he is surely worth a first-round pick in dynasty formats as he will likely rack up plenty of receptions from Burrow for years to come.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd has begun catching passes from rookie signal-caller Joe Burrow as the team kicks off training camp. The 25-year-old has plenty of hype heading into the 2020 season after racking up over 1,000 yards in his previous two seasons. With A.J. Green seemingly healthy along with the addition of Clemson wideout Tee Higgins, Boyd could see things open up more on the offensive end, while also remaining the team's top pass-catcher.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green went through his first walkthrough under second-year head coach Zac Taylor on Tuesday. The veteran, who recently signed a one-year tender a few weeks ago, missed all of 2019 after injuring his ankle during training camp. While consistent ailments have been the theme for the 32-year-old over the past seasons, there is no denying his ability when healthy. He is no longer considered an elite wideout, however, he is worth a mid-round pick for those looking for an option with an enormous upside.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon is still without a new deal as the team heads toward the 2020 season. However, according to director of player personnel, Duke Tobin, the organization views the 24-year-old as a "cornerstone piece of the franchise." Mixon is looking for a contract that would pay him north of $8 million per year, a significant increase from the $1.2 million that he is expected to earn in the final year of his rookie deal. The former Sooner is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons and is projected by many to be a fantasy breakout by year's end.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was quick to respond to Ed Werder's Twitter post regarding a potentially reduced role for the former rushing champ, quipping "we all gonna eat." Though Elliott is a shoo-in, first-round pick in fantasy drafts for the 2020 campaign, many still wonder how he will co-exist on an offense that has plenty of mouths to feed, notably Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and 17th overall pick, CeeDee Lamb. Elliott finished 2019 as a top-five back in the majority of formats. Under new head coach Mike McCarthy, who has overseen some productive runners throughout his career, the 25-year-old could be in store for another productive year.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas broke the single-season receptions record last year by racking up 149 catches, surpassing Marvin Harrison's 2002 mark of 143. While that accomplishment would be good enough for most throughout the league, the 27-year-old is aiming to exceed his 2019 total heading into the 2020 campaign. Thomas convincingly dominated the fantasy picture last season, and in addition to his catch total, he also accumulated over 1,700 yards while finishing fifth in yards after the catch. He is expected to finish as the top fantasy wideout this season, and will likely get snagged off the draft board within the top three picks, especially in PPR formats.
Updating a previous story, San Francisco 49ers WR Travis Benjamin was officially placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aug. 5.
Updating a previous story, Miami Dolphins WR Albert Wilson was officially placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aug. 5.
Miami Dolphins DT Davon Godchaux was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aug. 5.
Atlanta Falcons DT Tyeler Davison was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aug. 5. LB Ahmad Thomas was released.
Cleveland Browns TE Austin Hooper lived part of the summer with QB Baker Mayfield while the two worked out together.
Fantasy Spin: It certainly could help Hooper to at least be somewhat familiar with his new QB despite all the lost reps from canceled offseason programs following his signing as a free agent. Hooper is expected to be the No. 1 tight end over David Njoku and should be drafted as a top-tier option at his thin position.
Tennessee Titans LB Jayon Brown (undisclosed) passed his physical Wednesday, Aug. 5, and was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.
Buffalo Bills WR Stefon Diggs restructured his contract Tuesday, Aug. 4, according to a source. He'll receive an extra $3.3 million in 2020, an extra $7.7 million in guaranteed money but a decrease of $300,000 cash in 2021 and a drop from $25.55 million to $22.67 million in 2022-23 cash.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB LeSean McCoy probably will have a role in the passing game this season, according to head coach Bruce Arians.
Fantasy Spin: It appears like McCoy may be in line for the third down back job, but fantasy players should keep an eye on the situation. McCoy probably would see a handful of touches each games if he makes the roster but may only be a depth option in fantasy leagues.
Free-agent S Kentrell Brice (Bears) signed with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, Aug. 5. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
New York Jets LB Avery Williamson (knee) said he expects to be ready for the start of the regular season.
Las Vegas Raiders RB Jeremy Hill was released Wednesday, Aug. 5.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II was called "the main guy" in the running back room by his coach Bruce Arians. Arians said he is confident in Jones II and that the other guys are fighting for roles. The other guys include third-round draft pick Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who will lose valuable practice time after he hit the COVID-19 list, and veteran running back LeSean McCoy, who won't challenge for a lead back role at this point in his career. Jones II looks the part after an offseason spent bulking up and catching hundreds of passes to address a weakness in his game. The 23-year-old has RB2 upside in the 7th round but it's likely that Vaughn and McCoy cut into his ceiling in 2020, despite what Arians said.
Free-agent S Kentrell Brice (Bears) is expected to sign with the Arizona Cardinals as long as he passes a physical and tests negative for COVID-19, according to a source.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones will be the main ball carrier for the Buccaneers this season, according to head coach Bruce Arians.
Fantasy Spin: Jones rushed for 724 yards and six touchdowns last season and should improve those stats with more playing time and touches. He will be a part of one of the better offenses in the NFL and can be considered a No. 2 running back in fantasy leagues.