Bengals QB Jake Browning Carries Himself Like A Baller, And Jordan Palmer’s Endorsement Is Further Proof That He Actually Is One

Jake Browning
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Not gonna lie, when Joe Burrow went down with a season-ending injury, I went full “woe is me.” Didn’t bother watching most of the rest of Thursday Night Football when the Ravens spanked the Bengals 34-20. When Jake Browning threw a garbage-time TD to Ja’Marr Chase, it was the classic “made the score closer than it actually was” meaningless trip to the end zone.

Or so I thought. Then I actually went back and watched every one of Browning’s reps once he was thrust into duty. If you box score scout his modest passing stat line (8-for-14 passing, 68 yards, 1 TD), it doesn’t look that great. But in a 21-10 game, deep in Ravens territory, Browning threw an in-breaking route right on Trenton Irwin’s chest on third down that would’ve at least set up a 4th and 1. Irwin dropped it.

Pinned deep in his own territory late in the third quarter, Browning unleashed a beautiful deep ball to Chase down the left sideline on 3rd and 17. Chase high-pointed the ball, came down with it, only to just miss getting both feet inbounds. A couple other Browning passes throughout the evening could’ve easily been completed.

Even on that last drive when the Bengals scored, Baltimore wasn’t playing Prevent defense. They were sending five-man rushes and getting heat on Browning, who, it turns out, is more athletic than you think. He had four carries for 40 yards.. nothing to sneeze at.

Jordan Palmer works with many of the top QBs in the sport to help them improve between seasons, including Burrow. He has firsthand knowledge of Browning, too, and let me just say: Bengals fans, we may have hope yet that the 2023 season ain’t over.

TLDW (Too Long Don’t Watch): It’s hard to succinctly transcribe what Palmer said here. He looked back at Browning as if he were a draft prospect, praised his prolific production in high school (91 TD passes as a senior) and in college at Washington.

Palmer noticed how well Browning handled the overwhelming sensation of not only finishing out a game for the starting QB, but knowing he’s going in and the guy in front of him is, in all likelihood, out for the season. Nothing changed, in Palmer’s estimation, as far as how Browning reacted.

Plus, Browning’s TD toss to Ja’Marr was a timing-based throw that he never could’ve repped with the first-team offense before then. I tend to concur with Palmer on all accounts.

Let’s not take the game film or Palmer’s word for it alone, though. Browning star also seems to relish the pressure that comes with being a professional quarterback. You can sense the chip on his shoulder, too.

Browning has exuded supreme confidence that he described as more “delusional” than anything else when holding court with the media.

I’ll bounce around and take you through some of the best Browning quotes from that video above:

“When you’re buried on quarterback depth charts, and you didn’t come into the league as a high pick, yeah you’re frustrated. You’re watching guys make teams that you objectively feel like you’re better than.

It’s not the most physically demanding thing, being a third-string quarterback, but it is mentally demanding. You’re not getting a ton of reps, you’re still getting graded probably harder than if I would’ve came into the league as a third-round pick or something.

“Yeah, I got that chip on my shoulder, and a lot of confidence of…I’ve had to earn everything. This is not been a, ‘hey, you’re the guy, and here’s the keys.’ Or, ‘you’re the backup, and here’s the keys.’

It’s a lot of meetings in offseasons like, ‘Hey, it’s this guy’s job to lose.’ That’s the most frustrating thing you can hear because it doesn’t matter how well you play, someone else has to lose it. So you’re kind of just hoping someone else sucks.”

This is a guy who’s had to grind for every inch he’s gained in the NFL as an undrafted free agent. Four years, lots of practice squad time, minimal reps. Biding his time for a sliver of a chance. You obviously don’t want to see someone like Joe Brrr get injured. On the flip side of that, this is the moment Browning has longed for. He seems to be fully embracing it.

Sunday’s Week 12 showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers is an AFC North game. The 5-5 Bengals have struggled against the conference and their own division all year long. They badly need this one. You’d assume the coaching staff would take the load off Browning, stray from their typical Burrow-centric identity and lean more on Joe Mixon and the rushing attack. If Browning has anything to say about it, that will not be the case.

I agree with Jordan Palmer’s take especially with respect to how he compares Browning’s demeanor to Burrow’s. That sounds crazy and, yeah, I think some of Browning’s delusional confidence is rubbing off on me. I always thought he was a noodle-armed guy coming out of college who had no business being in the NFL. His early career has validated that take.

However, Browning wouldn’t have gotten this far if he didn’t improve his arm strength pretty drastically. No way the Bengals would employ him, much less keep him on as their QB2/Burrow standby option if they didn’t see something fairly special.

It’s time for Who Dey Nation to believe in Jake Browning. I wasn’t sold until the past 24 hours or so. I’m here to concur with the QB’s assessment of his own abilities, and Palmer’s expert opinion. If Thursday night was any indication, the stage isn’t too big for Browning. He makes sound decisions, has good accuracy, plenty of athleticism to extend plays with his legs or pick up chunks of yardage on the ground, and his mechanics and footwork are fundamentally sound.

That’s as good an indication as any that he’ll at least give the Bengals a fighting chance against the Steelers and the rest of the way as they fight for their playoff lives.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock