Ravens

Queen and Burrow set to share the field again, but as opponents

Ravens

Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen is no stranger to Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. More accurately, he’s no stranger being intense with Burrow.

Not only did the two play with one another at LSU for two seasons, Queen said the two routinely got in one another’s face during team workouts. The two are good friends, Queen reassured, but they weren’t shy about their intensity in Baton Rouge. 

Perhaps that’s a big reason why LSU won all 15 of its games in 2019 and completed one of the best college football seasons in history. As a result, five players from the Tigers went in the first round — including Burrow first and Queen 28th — and 14 in total were drafted. 

The intensity between Burrow, who led the offense, and Queen, who rallied the defense, was notable at drills for two years.

“It’s just typical football stuff,” Queen said with a smile. “It’s one person gets heated, then stuff breaks out. And that’s really all I really want to say about that.”

Both former LSU teammates have had strong starts to their careers, but more specifically, it’s been Burrow that’s stolen the spotlight through the NFL’s first four weeks.

Making his first ever professional starts, he’s led the Bengals to a 1-2-1 record — a record that could be better were it not for a questioned push-off call in the end zone against the Chargers in Week 1 and a tie against the Eagles in Week 3.

 

He’s thrown for 1,121 yards (280.25 per game) with six touchdowns and just two interceptions. His completion percentage is an outstanding 65.5 percent, considering most games, he’s scrambling for his life. So far this season, he’s been sacked 15 times. 

But through it all, Burrow has already set the rookie record for most completions in a game (37) and is on pace to break the record for most completions in a rookie season. 

“He’s the first pick of the draft and he’s playing that way,” defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale said. “He’s making all the right reads, you can tell he’s coached well, and he’s doing some things that normally guys don’t do. He’s doing a nice job of running that offense and he’s got a lot of talent to work with with that offense from the running back to the all the wide receivers and he’s using it well.”

Burrow is surrounded by skill on the Bengals’ offense, with wideouts Tee Higgins, A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd on the depth chart. His running back, Joe Mixon, is one of the best in the league. And despite taking blow after blow from opposing defenses, Burrow has stood tall in the pocket to help rejuvenate the Bengals’ franchise. 

“He’s going to stay in the pocket and try to throw the ball,” Queen said. “He’s going to take a hit and keep playing. I just look at it as, as many times as we can hit him, hit him, and try to get back to him and get some pressure on him, because he’s going to stay in there. He’s a great competitor, like I said, and we just have to get after him.”

If one were to have predicted Queen and Burrow’s NFL prospects a year ago, it certainly wouldn’t have been as the first and 28th picks in the draft. Last October, Burrow was still an ascending talent in the college football ranks from late-round flier to top prospect. In terms of a one-year rise, Burrow was one of the most unique NFL Draft prospects in recent memory. A year ago, Queen was in his first year as a starter at LSU still trying to make a name for himself.

Queen, 21, and Burrow, 24, aren’t similar at first glance. But a deeper dive shows the two are more alike than would seem.

“He came up, his story was very touching, because mine kind of relates to his,” Queen said. “So, I respect everything about him; his game, his attitude, his work ethic – everything he does for the game and does for his family, as well.”

Burrow, who is younger than Ravens’ quarterback Lamar Jackson, seems to have added another interesting quarterback wrinkle to an already fascinating AFC North.

“Three hundred passing yard games, three of those in a row — that’s pretty remarkable to say the least,” coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. “I don’t think it’s ever been done before. We just have a lot of respect for him. (We’re) just trying to study what they do, how he’s utilized, the weapons that he has.”

 

Burrow, of course, was at Ohio State for three years, then LSU for two more. And he's not only got experience on the football field, he's the son of former Ohio Bobcats defensive coordinator Jimmy Burrow and has two separate degrees from both his colleges. In terms of experiencing what college football has to offer, Burrow was as seasoned as anyone could reasonably be entering the NFL.

Queen, on the other hand, has needed a bit more time.

He started just one year at LSU, mostly due to talent ahead of him on the depth chart, but made 85 tackles in his junior season and declared for the draft as a result. He showed great sideline-to-sideline speed, which drew the Ravens in during the draft process, as they had Queen fall into their lap late in the first round. He was, and still is, a bit raw, but Harbaugh and the staff praised his ability as an ascending player.

Since he became a Raven in April, Queen has flashed both for standout plays good and bad. 

Against the Browns, in his first ever game, Queen was all over the field and led the team in tackles. Against the Chiefs two weeks later, he seemed lost in coverage as the Chiefs threw all over the Ravens’ secondary. It’s all part of the learning process for the young linebacker.

And Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium will be part of the learning process in a year unlike any other for both Burrow and Queen. Only this time, they’re not teammates.

“I think what you’ve got to keep in mind with all the young players, really what he played against Washington was, in most years, a fourth preseason game,” Martindale said. “Every rep is valuable to him. You see more and more production when you look at the statsheet against him. All our fans should be really excited about Patrick Queen, he’s going to be a really good linebacker. And he’s already doing some nice things for us now.”