Joe Burrow's status remains murky a day after Cincinnati's offense struggled in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens while the Bengals quarterback played with a lingering calf injury.
Head coach Zac Taylor was asked Monday about Burrow's availability for next Monday's game against the Los Angeles Rams in a rematch of Super Bowl LVI. He was noncommittal as the Bengals await further evaluation from medical staff.
"It's hard for me to say right now," Taylor said when asked about Burrow's availability against the Rams.
Taylor was previously asked if he'd consider sitting Burrow for a couple of weeks to allow his calf to heal.
— FOX19 NOW (@FOX19) September 18, 2023
"I think first of all, we've got to hear what doctors have to say before we start to assume anything," Taylor said. "Once we get that information, we have to figure out what we're going to do."
Of course it's prudent to avoid making public proclamations on Burrow's status without having all the necessary medical information. But it's concerning for the Bengals that they can't say with confidence if or when Burrow will be ready to play.
While concerning, Taylor's stance is no surprise following two weeks of tepid Bengals football. An offense that has been one of the NFL's most potent for consecutive seasons has sputtered out of the gates in an 0-2 start.
Burrow has clearly been impacted by the calf strain that cost him the preseason, as he has completed 41 of 72 (56.9%) passes for 304 yards (4.2 yards per attempt) with two touchdowns and one interception in losses to the Ravens and Cleveland Browns. By comparison, he completed 68.3% of his passes for 279.7 yards per game (7.4 yards per attempt) with 35 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 16 starts during his 2022 Pro Bowl campaign.
After Sunday's game, Burrow acknowledged that "it's tough to tell" what his recovery path looks like while telling reporters that he tweaked his calf.
The rest of Cincinnati's offense is struggling around him. After posting three points against the Browns, the Bengals managed just 262 yards of offense against the Ravens and needed a special-teams touchdown to reach 24 points. All-Pro wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase has 10 catches for 70 yards in two games and hasn't reached the end zone.
Things aren't right in Cincinnati, and Burrow's calf is clearly part of the problem. How the Bengals manage the injury could determine the outcome of their season.