Brian Callahan: There are things Joe Burrow can do to reduce his sack rate

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has put himself in a position to be considered with the elite talents at his position.

But if there’s one aspect of his game that Burrow could stand to improve, it’s taking fewer sacks.

Not all sacks are on the quarterback, but they’re also not all on the offensive line. Burrow was sacked a league-high 51 times in 2021. Then he was sacked 19 more times in the Bengals’ four postseason games, including nine times in the divisional round against Tennessee and seven times in the Super Bowl loss to Los Angeles.

So as the Bengals begin training camp, offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said on Monday that he’s focused on reducing Burrow’s sack numbers.

“And not that we’d ever want to change the way he plays football,” Callahan said, via Geoff Hobson of the team’s website. “But there are definitely things that we’ve looked at that you could take five, six, seven, eight [sacks] of those off from some decision-making things on early downs.

“The sack thing is legitimate. And there’s some things that he can do to help that. You know, there’s time and a place to extend a play, there’s a time and a place to throw the ball away or to take a check down or what have you. So it’s hard to sit here and be like, ‘Hey, this is exactly what you got to do.’ Every down and distance is different … But there are moments where he could help take some of the heat off of himself and take a few hits off.”

The Bengals made some improvements along their offensive line by signing guard Alex Cappa, center Ted Karras, and offensive tackle La’el Collins. Those moves alone should help reduce Burrow’s sack rate. But the quarterback will also have to do his part to get hit fewer times in 2022.