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NFL

Who is Jake Browning the Cincinnati Bengals backup QB?

Having turned heads in his first game, it’s clearly time to take a look at the Cincinnati Bengals’ man in the middle: Quarterback Jake Browning.

Update:
Having turned heads on Monday night, it’s clearly time to take a look at the Cincinnati Bengals’ man in the middle: Quarterback Jake Browning.
JEFF DEANAFP

Though the Bengals still have much work to do if they are to secure a trip to the postseason, both the team and its fans will likely be encouraged after their quarterback’s performance against the Jaguars. It will be interesting to see what comes next.

Let’s get to know Jake Browning

If you caught the ‘Monday Night Football’ game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars, then there is no way that you didn’t take notice of the man who was under center for the Bengals. Having lost starting quarterback Joe Burrow to season-ending wrist surgery just last month, a contest against the Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence was always going to be tricky but it’s now fair to say that stand-in signal caller Jake Browning had other plans for the night. Of course, we should mention that Lawrence was actually forced off the field in the 4th quarter with what has now been diagnosed as an ankle injury.

Regardless, let’s get back to Browning. On the night, the former Huskies star went 32-of-37 passing for 354 yards and two touchdowns - one passing, one rushing. Of his five incompletions, two were dropped catches by his wide receivers. This is all to say that he took to the field like a fish takes to water in a game that the Bengals won 34-31 in overtime. If the Bengals and their man in the middle can play like this again, then one has to believe that they’ve got a good chance of making their third consecutive trip to the playoffs. Even more so when you consider that of the five teams that they still have to face, only the Chiefs have a healthy starting QB. Yet, just who is Jake Browning? Let’s find out

A star student & prolific player

As a matter of fact, he was. Before making football his focus, it’s understood that the California native maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA at Folsom High School, the same place where he broke state and national records for career touchdown passes (229) on the way to becoming a four-star recruit. He would eventually land at the University of Washington, where he studied at the Foster School of Business while making waves with the Huskies. Indeed, it was at Washington that Browning truly started to make history as he became the first freshman to start a season opener at QB for the team. Just one year later, he would be the architect of UW’s first conference title in 16 years on the back of 43 touchdowns in 14 games. Ultimately, Browning would leave college as the school’s all-time passing leader.

From unfair judgment to rising star

You’re probably wondering how is that a player with those kinds of numbers wasn’t selected high up in the NFL Draft. Truth be told, that’s where things get interesting. Deemed too small and not athletic enough, Browning actually went undrafted in 2019, the same year in which Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones, and Dwayne Haskins entered the NFL after being selected in the first round. What came next was a two-season stint with the Minnesota Vikings where he was in and out of the team’s practice squad with Kirk Cousins the starting QB. He would then be released by the Vikings in 2021 after which he proceeded to join the Bengals and it was there, after two seasons on the scout team, that Browning finally showed his true colors. Indeed, it was just this past summer that he secured the No. 2 spot behind Burrow after beating out veteran QB and former Broncos starter Trevor Siemian for the job. This is all to say that while it’s probably too early to promote Browning as a future star, his performance on Monday night showed he knows what he’s doing. Now the question is, ‘Can he keep going?’

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