Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow drew comparisons to Rodgers this summer when practice squad defensive tackle Mike Daniels, a former teammate of Rodgers in Green Bay, went on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football and called Burrow “like a baby Aaron.”
The comparison is uncanny now looking at both of their first 14 games. Burrow missed the final six games last year and is heading into Game 15 of his NFL career with a 5-8-1 record, 66.9 percent completion rate, 3,676 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns, nine interceptions and a 94.8 quarterback rating. Rodgers was 5-9 with a 63.5 percent completion rate, 3,470 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 91.8 rating through his first 14 games.
“You don’t see many rookies step into the locker room and you would think he’s like a four-year vet if you didn’t know who he was, and to have that at the quarterback position, that means he has the right type of savvy, the right type of poise that you only see from guys like Aaron,” Daniels said of Burrow’s rookie year. “I’ve been saying this since I got there [Cincinnati]. I see a lot of similarities between the two and I’m just excited to be a part of that, man. The kids got a lot to him, he’s got a lot of upside—he’s only going to get better and you talk to Who Dey Nation and they’re going to let you know: Joe Burrow is the savior, man. He really is to this organization.”
Burrow said Wednesday he never watched Rodgers thinking how he could emulate his game, but he prefers not to put himself up against other quarterbacks in general. Rodgers’ pedigree speaks for itself.
“I do enjoy watching people who are really good at what they do, and obviously he’s been one of the best, if not the best, for a long time,” said Burrow, who should get back from injury this week one of his favorite targets in wide receiver Tee Higgins. “... He’s just always in control. He doesn’t let defenses play the way they should. He takes advantage of a lot of different things that you show. You can’t just leave a guy uncovered against Aaron Rodgers.”
Rodgers and Burrow haven’t put up the flashiest of numbers this season but they are again similar, as both lead passing games that rank 23rd (Bengals) and 24th (Packers). And, both have shown capable of more – Burrow in a smaller window of time and Rodgers over a decorated 16-year career that has included nine Pro Bowl nods.
Defensive tackle D.J. Reader said there is not necessarily a shock value to facing Rodgers, but there is no doubt he is a special player.
“You know what he can do with the ball in his hands,” Reader said. “You know how dangerous he is. There’s always that heightened sense of timing in your head. I think that’s more so what it is. It’s not, ‘Oh man, we’re playing against Aaron Rodgers.’ He’s special. He’s arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. But he’s going to do what he does and we have to do our job getting after him.”
And what does Reader think of Burrow?
“We know how good Joe is,” Reader said. “… We know what Joe is made of. It’s exciting for us to watch the world see what Joe is made of. You’re not over there on third down waiting to grab your helmet. You’re sitting there waiting on him to make a play. That’s exciting as a defensive player knowing that you have somebody with the ball in their hands that can do something like that.”
Packers at Bengals, 1 p.m., Fox, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7