The Cincinnati Bengals weren’t supposed to get this far without franchise quarterback Joe Burrow playing quarterback. Aside from two duds against the Pittsburgh Steelers, you can thank backup QB Jake Browning for that.
Browning combined with a refined offensive game plan has made the Bengals’ offense highly functioning for the majority of his time under center.
It’s caught the attention of the NFL, including the DC Browning is set to face this weekend. In talking to media members about Sunday’s matchup in Kansas City, Chiefs defensive play-caller Steve Spagnuolo didn’t hold back when praising what Browning has done in his five starts, going so far to say he looks the same as Burrow at times.
“I tell you, the biggest compliment I can give to Browning is this. When we’re watching the film, there are times when I go, ‘Was that Joe Burrow? Or was that the, you know, this backup that came in.”
“They look the same to me,” Spagnuolo admitted to reporters. “And I think Joe’s a little bit bigger but when you see the mannerisms and the way that they settle in the pocket, and the way they throw, and even the things they’re doing pre-snap, they look the same, they do a great job coaching.”
Browning has been behind Burrow since before the Bengals were taken seriously. Two+ years of learning the offense and watching rep after rep has helped mold him into a passer that can have success at the highest level.
It’s got Spags reminiscing on how the Patriots’ quarterback room usually shook out when the G.O.A.T. was leading the charge. “I used to think the same thing about all the quarterbacks that played in New England,” Spaguolo said.
“Yeah, they just had the same mold, they had the Tom Brady mold, you know, Tom B. But I’m really impressed with this quarterback. He goes in, you know, they rattle off three straight wins. “I know they didn’t have a great game last week,” Spagnola admitted.
“But throw that one out and you’re looking at a Cincinnati offense that to me is operating and functioning just like they have any time we’ve gotten ready to play them.
And then that’s a compliment to their coaches, the quarterback, all the skill they have.” The three-time Super Bowl winning coordinator is irrefutably correct to credit the coaching staff for Browning’s success.
Cincinnati’s offense made a quick transition to schemes and concepts that better fit Browning’s skillset, which in turn made him more comfortable and confident to execute higher-level throws and plays. Browning may not actually be Burrow, but based on Spagnuolo’s assessment, expect the Chiefs to respect him like he is the guy who’s beaten them three times in the last two years.