Jeff Driskel was quite the story during the Bengals’ 2017 preseason.
Most of that excitement came after his first game where he threw for a touchdown while completing eight of nine passes for 97 yards. He also was very effective running the ball and even scored on the ground. He never completed more than two passes in the rest of the preseason games, but he also broke his hand during the last game of the preseason.
He spent most of the regular season on Injured Reserve. The Bengals took him off with three weeks left in the season. That ended up not being a great idea with the news from Geoff Hobson from the Bengals official site:
Complicating matters is the unknown physical status of No. 3 quarterback Jeff Driskel. It’s believed Driskel broke his non-throwing arm during the last week of practice and they’re not sure when he’ll be ready. That capped an extremely difficult year Driskel that began when he shattered his throwing hand in the pre-season finale and was on injured reserve most of the season.
Obviously, that is a huge complication for the Bengals. It is weird that he has now hurt both of his hands in one season, but the timetable is more of an issue. It is pretty clear the AJ McCarron most likely won’t be with the team next season, and now that Driskel’s availability is in doubt, that means the Bengals are in need of a backup quarterback.
Odds are this move most likely eliminates the possibility of the Bengals bringing in a rookie quarterback because of the need for someone to be able to step in and play right away in case Andy Dalton goes down. I’m not sure that would be a scenario that Marvin Lewis and Mike Brown would be comfortable with.
Hobson eludes to the idea of them possibly trying to keep McCarron, because that is logically the quarterback they’d be the most comfortable with if Dalton did go down with an injury.
However, the odds of that seem very small. Whether he is a restricted or unrestricted free agent, it seems like he is on the radar of a bunch of quarterback needy teams, and he is ready to spread his wings.
This means the Bengals will likely try their hand at another available free agent quarterback looking for a new team. The Bengals would likely be the first option of any quarterback after all the starting jobs are gone. The view from the outside is that there is the possibility of unseating Dalton if things don’t change quickly, although that probably isn’t the case.
Guys like Josh McCown, Geno Smith and even Ryan Fitzpatrick could be guys the Bengals end up taking a look at after the quarterback market settles a little bit. It isn’t exactly the competition at quarterback that the “Replace Dalton” crowd wants, but that is what the Bengals will give us.