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Notebook | HC Robert Saleh on Bengals' Joe Burrow: 'He's Relentless'

OC Mike LaFleur Sees Similarities to Falcons, 49ers Super Bowl Offenses; Bengals Safety Tandem One of the NFL’s Best

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Bengals QB Joe Burrow is one of the NFL's best young quarterbacks despite a slow start this season.

"He's relentless," HC Robert Saleh said. "He has amazing confidence, great accuracy and toughness and he's extremely smart. So he's definitely a superstar in this league. Any time you get an opportunity to play these guys, it's always a challenge."

Through two games this season (0-2), Burrow has thrown for 537 yards, 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He's been sacked a league-high 13 times, the most through the first two games since Chad Henne in 2014 with the Jaguars. Additionally, starting RT La'el Collins, who signed in the offseason, did not practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a back injury.

Jets rookie DE Jermaine Johnson, who played against Burrow in 2019 when Johnson was at Georgia, has taken 37 of his 41 defensive snaps lining up over the right tackle, according to Pro Football Focus.

"You know he's going to [Ja'Marr] Chase deep," Johnson said. "They're going to try and go to him deep and take the shots with him, hoping some are going to hit. … You know there's going to be a lot of pass-rush ops, a lot of one-on-ones and stuff like that. But we'll see how they protect this week, it could differ. Just be ready for the opportunity."

Super Bowl Similarities
Jets OC Mike LaFleur has a good problem: Finding a way to share the ball. 

An offensive assistant in Atlanta (2015-16), and passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach in San Francisco (2017-19), he compared the group he is managing to the teams that made trips to the Super Bowl.

"I think the difference between what I just said between 2019, 2016, and what we have is we're really young compared to those two squads," LaFleur said. "It might get a little quieter at times for certain guys. Keep plugging away, keep doing your job, keep doing your responsibility. The ball will find you when you're giving it everything you got."

Against Cleveland, nine players received targets and six players had rushing attempts. Rookie WR Garrett Wilson – 8 catches, 102 yards and 2 touchdowns – and rookie RB Breece Hall – 50 yards rushing and a 10-yard receiving touchdown – led the way. Sunday versus Cincinnati, it could be someone else.

"It's going to be a constant cool little battle," LaFleur said. "But again, it's my responsibility to do what I think is best for this team to win football games and the offense has success to score points and every week is, again, going to be a little bit different."

See the top practice images leading up to the Week 3 matchup against the Bengals.

Talented Safety Tandem
A lot of people focus on the Bengals' offensive firepower, which includes Burrow, WRs Chase and Tee Higgins, and Pro Bowl RB Joe Mixon. Cincinnati's defense, however, ranks top-10 in total yards (No. 7, 302 yds/g) and third-down (T-4, 28%). DE Trey Hendrickson's 15 sacks ranked No. 5 overall last season and the unit has one of the best safety tandems in the NFL with Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell.

"They're super talented," Saleh said of the safeties. "They know how to play the game. Just watch them with their leverages and how they play certain concepts and where they position their bodies. They're able to position their body to take away one play and their eyes are taking away another concept. They're so advanced. Very similar to that Buffalo tandem. It's underrated how savvy they are out there and definitely a problem."

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