When the Chicago Bears welcome the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field, the Bears front seven will be tasked with stopping Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Less than a year after tearing his ACL, Burrow has rebounded, including a solid showing against the Minnesota Vikings in week 1, where the 24-year old quarterback tossed two touchdowns, 261 passing yards while posting a completion percentage of 74.1 percent.
“Yeah I feel like he’s a lot more athletic than he may look,” Nichols said via the Bears official YouTube Channel. “You know he has the ability to you know make great throws, smart guy, and he also has the ability to get out the pocket if you let him so you know we just gotta contain him and keep him in there and do everything we can to affect him.”
Cincinnati’s offense starts and ends with Burrow. Containing an ascending quarterback who’s playing with confidence will be key for Sean Desai and the rest of the defense, which struggled to get after the quarterback in week 1, a game that included multiple miscommunications within the Bears secondary, which led to big plays.
Burrow was also the driving force behind the Bengals explosive plays in week 1, hitting wider receiver Ja’Marr Chase in stride for a 50-yard touchdown pass. Showing some single-high safety looks that eventually translate into two-deep safety looks can also benefit the Bears defense, as Desai will look to continue sending exotic blitzes in Burrow’s direction, hoping to cause some confusion.
“That’s why you have 17 opportunities, just to make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” Nichols said. “And you just keep getting better and better as a group.”
For a Bears defense that’s hoping for a major bounceback, limiting Burrow starts with guys like Nichols but continues with players like Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Roquan Smith, Eddie Goldman, and many more.