The Bengals have made a decision as to who will backup Andy Dalton at quarterback, though it may not be the one they expected to make.
The team announced they’ve placed veteran quarterback Matt Barkley on Injured Reserve today following his knee injury he suffered in the preseason finale against the Colts that turned out to be a grade 3 MCL.
Notable cuts: TJ Johnson, Ryan Hewitt, Michael Johnson. The Bengals go with Randy Bullock as their kicker and Matt Barkley goes to IR. https://t.co/OPR6FQRwDd— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) September 1, 2018
Barkley was in a tight battle with third-year quarterback Jeff Driskel for the role as Dalton’s backup this season, and despite Driskel’s impressive play in the beginning of preseason play, it was Barkley who was given second-team reps against the Bills and the Colts to close out the preseason.
Barkley only threw three passes and completed none of them before exiting the preseason finale with his knee injury that gave Driskel extended time with the second-team offense. The limited playing time Barkley got was a microcosm for his preseason as a whole, as he entered the game with a mere 51 percent completion percentage on 17-33 passing and just 230 yards with a touchdown and interception each.
Barkley wasn’t impressing anybody outside of Paul Brown Stadium, but he may’ve been the preferred option inside Paul Brown Stadium despite his lackluster production with the team.
The starting experience Barkley carried with him (six starts entering this season) gave him the advantage over Driskel from the beginning of OTAs in May, and a two-year contract also gave the illusion that Barkley had the confidence of the front office to be Dalton’s backup for that timeframe. The team drafting QB Logan Woodside a month later in the NFL Draft added another quarterback into the mix, but Barkley was still the favorite of the group because of his veteran status.
Entering the game, the competition between Barkley and Driskel was presumably still very lose going off the words of head coach Marvin Lewis, and Barkley ultimately wasn’t cut. At the end of the day, neither quarterback will come close to replacing Dalton if he is out for any extended time. At the very least, the quarterback that produced better got the job, and the Bengals roster is slightly better as a result.
Barkley, as of now, will have a chance to compete for a spot next year when he’s healthy, as he’s under contract until 2019.