The Cincinnati Bengals have always had a history of keeping players, and coaches, that have shown promise. It almost seems like you can be as terrible as possible if you’ve had good days as well.
That era may be all but over in Cincinnati as the team rid themselves of Marvin Lewis last year after three straight underperforming seasons. Now, if history repeats itself, it may be Andy Dalton on the hot seat.
After all, Andy Dalton has arguably been the worst consistently-starting quarterback since 2011. Pro Football Focus’ Mark Chichester backed up that claim by tracking which quarterback has had the most subpar performances.
The most single-game grades below 70.0 among QBs since 2011:— Mark Chichester (@PFF_Chichester) October 25, 2019
1. Andy Dalton — 81
2. Joe Flacco — 77
3. Cam Newton — 76
4. Ryan Fitzpatrick — 76
5. Eli Manning — 74
Dalton, who is coming off a three interception game against Jacksonville and preparing for a Jalen Ramsey-led secondary, started off the season red hot, throwing for a career-high 418 yards.
And, to be fair, it wasn’t just that specific game that Dalton has proven he’s a competent quarterback. He’s been good enough. That’s exactly how Chichester phrased it when talking about Dalton and how he’s been the master of below-average play.
“In fact, he’s only ranked inside the league’s top-20 quarterbacks in four of his eight seasons in the NFL—2013 (18th), 2015 (8th), 2017 (18th) and 2018 (12th)—which is precisely the kind of performance a franchise could deal with, but not want, from a starting quarterback.”
If the Bengals lose on Sunday, they’ll be 0-8 and potentially the last winless team in the league. That’s the type of embarrassment that Zac Taylor was not ready for during his first season as a head coach.
Could that force him into making rational moves like giving rookie quarterback Ryan Finley a test trial prior to the 2020 NFL Draft? After all, they need to know if he’s a potential starter in this league before taking a quarterback with a top-two pick.
Dalton has been alright, but that’s it: he’s been just alright. The Bengals need better than that given their abominable offensive line. That said, he’ll be on the hot seat for the time being.