The Ravens have a longstanding tradition of making life rough on visiting rookie quarterbacks, and now they hope to do the same with Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, the No. 1 overall draft pick this past spring who will lead the Bengals (1-2-1) into M&T Bank Stadium Oct. 11.
No one on the Ravens knows Burrow better than Patrick Queen, the rookie inside linebacker who lined up opposite Burrow in LSU practices for the past two years. (Before transferring to LSU, Burrow was also teammates with current Ravens rookies Malik Harrison and J.K. Dobbins at Ohio State.)
Queen saw the full range of Burrow’s ability as he led the Tigers to a 15-0 record and national championship last year. Queen called Burrow “a phenomenal athlete” while acknowledging that on the LSU practice fields, “things got heated sometimes, and that’s just the competitor in both of us.”
Burrow has quickly established himself in the NFL. Inserted as the Bengals’ Week 1 starter, Burrow became the first rookie ever to throw for 300 yards in three consecutive games, a streak he hopes to extend against the Ravens Oct. 11.
Burrow threw for 316 yards in a Week 2 loss at Cleveland, then threw for 312 yards in a tie at Philadelphia and threw for 300 in a 33-25 win against Jacksonville this past week, his first NFL win.
For the season, Burrow has completed 116 of 177 passes (65.5 percent) for 1,121 yards, with six touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating of 89.7 ranks 21st.
Tyler Boyd, a consistent thorn in the Ravens’ side, leads the Bengals with 28 catches for 320 yards. Seven-time Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green, who missed all of last season with an ankle injury, has started slowly this year with 14 catches for 119 yards.
Burrow will be coming into what has been a house of horrors for rookie quarterbacks. Overall, rookie quarterbacks starting in Baltimore against the Ravens are 2-17. Last year, the Ravens turned aside another No. 1 draft pick, beating then-rookie Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals, 23-17. The last rookie quarterback to beat the Ravens in Baltimore was Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky in 2017.
Queen says Burrow, at 6-foot-4 and 221 pounds, has the size to stand in the pocket, “take a hit and keep playing. … As many times as we can hit him, hit him.”
Burrow has already taken his share of hits this year. Behind a suspect offensive line, Burrow has been sacked 15 times, the second-highest total in the league. The Ravens ranked tied for 16th with nine sacks, including one by Queen.
Expect defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale to employ aggressive blitz schemes and deception to try to get at Burrow, although the Bengals have surely taken note of how screens and other quick passes have been effective against the Ravens this year.
Queen knows that he might be tested in coverage by his former teammate, and he acknowledged that his coverage skills are a work in progress. According to Pro Football Reference, opposing quarterbacks are 15-for-20 for 136 yards and a touchdown throwing against Queen.
“Sometimes my eyes get me in trouble when I see a little candy floating around,” Queen said. “But for the most part, I’m just sticking to my keys and trusting the defense. … See the ball, get the ball.”
Queen, who leads the Ravens with 33 tackles, reiterated that pressure is the key against Burrow.
“He’s going to stay in there,” Queen said. “He’s a great competitor, like I said, and we just have to get after him.”
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