The Bengals’ backup quarterback job has been decided.
Matt Barkley suffered what’s “believed to be an injury serious enough to keep him out for the first few weeks,” according to Bengals.com.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport adds that it’s a grade 3 MCL sprain and that he’s a candidate for Injured/Return with the designation to return.
In that same article from Geoff Hobson, he writes that third-year quarterback Jeff Driskel “is the guy” for the No. 2 QB role behind starter Andy Dalton.
With 10:58 remaining in the first quarter of the Bengals’ preseason finale against the Colts on Thursday night, Barkley threw a pass to wide receiver Kermit Whitfield. The second-year receiver failed to catch the ball, partially because Barkley was hit while making the throw by Robenson Therezie. The Colts cornerback was penalized with a roughing the passer call, but the damage was done and Barkley left the game with a knee injury. He was immediately ruled out.
It’s possible Barkley is on the Bengals’ 53-man roster tomorrow before being moved to Injured Reserve on Sunday or Monday. This would allow the Bengals to bring Barkley back with the IR-designation to return after Week 8, as Rapoport said. It’s also possible the Bengals just put Barkley on IR tomorrow, making him ineligible to return for the rest of the season.
The fact that Hobson says he might only be sidelined for a few weeks means the injury is likely not an ACL tear, which is good news.
AJ McCarron played the entire preseason finale for the Bills on Thursday as his shoulder is now healed. He could end up being cut tomorrow, or traded. You’d have to think the Bengals would explore the option of bringing him back if he is cut.
For now, we wait to find out more. The Bengals must finalize their 53-man roster by 4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday.