The Ryan Finley era in Cincinnati seems to already be over as Bengals head coach Zac Taylor announced Monday that veteran Andy Dalton would be the starting QB against the New York Jets in Week 13 according to Geoff Hobson of bengals.com.
Finally, although Taylor wouldn’t commit to how long Dalton would stay under center. And it is fair to question Taylor’s judgement at this point, as he is the guy who announced he was benching Dalton for the rookie on Dalton’s birthday. The three games Finley started were tough to watch, with the Bengals failing to top 13 points in any of them and Finley failing to top 200 yards or complete even 55% of his passes in all three.
The return of Dalton certainly won’t make the Bengals into an offensive juggernaut, as the 0-11 team lost the first eight of those games with Dalton under center, but it could at least bring some minimal competence to Cincy. It is also an upgrade for all of the Bengals’ offensive skills players, except possibly running back Joe Mixon as he was being force-fed carries to try to cover up for Finley’s deficiencies. Perhaps even A.J. Green (ankle) will be motivated to suit up with the Red Rifle back under center.
And the 32-year-old Dalton may find some extra motivation knowing he may be auditioning for 2020 for some of the other quarterback-needy teams in the NFL. He is under contract for next season but, with the Bengals in the driver’s seat for the No.1-overall pick in next year’s draft and likely to be selecting their next franchise quarterback, it seems highly unlikely that Dalton will be back in Cincy next season.