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RGIII Implies Joe Burrow Is An Overrated Weapons Merchant In His Polarizing Top-5 AFC QBs List

OK, Robert Griffin III. I see you. I see you trying to stir the pot out here and suggest Joe Burrow has been a product of his weapons ever since his historically great final season at LSU. Right on, man!

It's funny how...

The vocal minority who believes Joe Burrow is a weapons merchant — AKA someone who can't thrive without elite skill position talent around him — seems to completely block out of their limited Mean Girls-esque brain cells the fact that he's been behind a terrible offensive line for much of his career. 

Those o-lines woes are awful enough to the point where the Bengals are literal days away from moving off the entire unit of five players that started in Super Bowl LVI.

And there's also this, courtesy of my Twitter pal Willie Lutz:

So uh, what the fuck now, RGIII?

I don't think anyone in their right mind would make an argument that Patrick Mahomes isn't the best quarterback in the NFL, never mind the AFC. Let's not act like he wasn't dropped into a perfect situation, though. Come on. Andy Reid as your head coach, a super-stable organization, and the actual best receiving tight end of all-time in Travis Kelce. AND Tyreek Hill before this year? Give me a break.

Now obviously Mahomes won his second Super Bowl without Tyreek this past season, but over the last two years, his o-line has been among the very best in the NFL. To be precise: Sixth in PFF's pass-blocking grades in 2021; ninth in '22.

And let's not pretend like JuJu Smith-Schuster is some bum. He'd easily have had a 1,000-yard season if Kelce wasn't such a target hog. The Patriots paid JuJu handsomely, and correct me if I'm wrong, but did he not have a 115-catch, 1,426-yard receiving campaign in his age-22 season with Pittsburgh before injuries, dysfunction, and piss-poor quarterback play led him to a one-year prove-it deal in KC? Or did I imagine that? Didn't he also lead the Chiefs with seven catches on nine targets in the latest Super Bowl? Or did I imagine that, too?

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All that aside, I'm not here to argue Burrow > Mahomes. I don't believe it to be true. No one in their right mind does. I also don't believe the gap is as wide as everyone pretends it is. OK so other than Patty Mahomes, who I love, what's the argument that anyone else in the AFC or NFL is better than Burrow?

Are we acting like Josh Allen doesn't have premier weapons around him? I don't know who to blame for Gabe Davis not producing to his full potential, but that guy put up TWO HUNDRED YARDS AND FOUR TDs in Kansas City in a playoff game! Is that BAD?

Dawson Knox is better than any tight end Burrow has had. Then, of course, you have an elite WR1 in Stefon Diggs.

Although Allen is superior to Burrow as a runner, he also takes way more unnecessary hits, doesn't have the feel in the pocket that Joe Brrr does, can't see the field as well or as consistently, and is a worse decision-maker. Remember, with all those inferiorities as an individual, Allen has a better o-line…and yet, what have we seen him do since 2020? Go from a 69.2% completion rate to 63.3% in each of the last two seasons.

By the way, what happened in that playoff meeting in Buffalo? I seem to forget. Oh yeah.

Speaking of the past two seasons, Pro Football Focus' numbers aren't the end-all be-all, but guess who they have as the No.1 graded passer in both? Joe Burrow. And my guy even spotted his competition a four-interception Week 1 against the Steelers in 2022 because he needed an offseason appendectomy. The offseason before that, he was recovering from a shredded knee.

Lamar Jackson is a superstar. The Ravens' offense did him no favors in terms of setting up easy throws, nor have they surrounded him with ideal wide receiver talent. On the other hand, Jackson has had Mark Andrews (Travis Kelce Lite), and Baltimore's run-heavy attack — thanks largely to Jackson's dynamic ball-carrying ability — sets up easier throws than almost any QB has.

Here are the Ravens' PFF pass-blocking grades since Jackson's MVP run in 2019:

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  • 2019: 1st
  • 2020: 4th
  • 2021: 13th
  • 2022: 2nd

One major issue for Jackson is he hasn't stayed healthy and finished the past two seasons. Another major issue: He might be out of Baltimore soon enough since his contract negotiations have gone nowhere. Who knows what his situation might entail when he lands with a new team?

Back to the o-line convo: Since Burrow entered the NFL in 2020, Cincinnati has gone 27th, 25th, and 30th last year. Um, imagine how much this man would cook behind even an average offensive line? At least the Bengals have made major steps to build that for Burrow with 2022's free agency acquisitions of Ted Karras, Alex Cappa and La'el Collins. Problem was, Collins got hurt during the season. Refusing to settle with Jonah Williams at left tackle once he let up TWELVE SACKS and FORTY-THREE PRESSURES in 2022, Cincinnati went out and landed ex-Chief and ex-Raven Orlando Brown Jr.

Brown's move to the Bengals has Chiefs Twitter in a fucking pretzel and I love it so much.

Kansas City finally beat the Bengals once in four meetings since Burrow took the reins and they're STILL sore winners whose heads Who Dey Nation lives in rent-free. You hate to see it. Kind of pathetic. Feel bad for them to be honest. Can't even enjoy your championship, you suddenly-spoiled brats. Perhaps Chiefs fans are quietly worried they've peaked already, because let's face it, unless your name is Tom Brady, expecting anything more than two Super Bowls in your lifetime is a pipe dream.

You can acknowledge all the points I laid out and appreciate and respect how good Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are. Just not at the expense of disrespecting where Joe Burrow stands in the sport on his own merits. He is the second-best QB in the AFC and the NFL at this very moment. If you don't think this, you don't know ball or are simply a hater. You could call me a love-blinded homer if I wasn't so fucking right about my team all the time.

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Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok