Bengals head coach Zac Taylor has announced that quarterback Andy Dalton will be benched this upcoming weekend in favour of fourth round rookie Ryan Finley.
This decision comes following the Bengals 24-10 loss against the LA Rams last Sunday, moving their record to a dour 0-8. With this in mind, Dalton’s benching does not feel like a knee-jerk reaction from Taylor and the rest of the Bengals coaching staff. Dalton has not been a complete disaster this season. The three-time Pro Bowler has thrown for 2252 yards, on a 60% completion percentage. However, Dalton has thrown 9 TD’s to 8 INT’s with a pathetic 6.7 yards per attempt and hasn’t shown an inkling of grit or willingness to win in one of the eight losses this season, once again showing that Dalton has failed to be the rising tide that lifts all boats.
We’re all aware of Dalton’s infamous reputation as the most average quarterback in the league. As per the famous ‘Dalton line’, if your franchise quarterback is better than Andy Dalton- you’re golden. If he’s worse than Andy Dalton- then you need a new QB. However, in recent years Dalton’s play has regressed and his MVP type campaign in 2015 is looking more and more like an outlier. Some have argued that Dalton’s play has regressed so much that he is ranked below the ‘Dalton line’.
With the former starter on the bench, the Bengals will turn to 4th round rookie Ryan Finley. In Finley’s final year with NC State he posted an impressive 3928 yards with 25 TD’s and 11 INT’s. NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah has described Finley as ‘Goff-like‘ which may give us a clue as to why this decision has been made with the former Rams QB coach calling the shots.
This could be an end of an era in Cincinnati, Dalton’s benching comes the season after the Marvin Lewis firing. Maybe Cincy is finally exorcising those demons this October, even if it is a few seasons too late. Who knows, Finley could come in and light things up and turn the fortunes of the Bengals franchise around. Maybe the Bengals will win a playoff game some time soon… or maybe not.