The last time the Bengals benched their starting quarterback midseason was in 2002 when Dick LeBeau pulled Gus Frerotte for Jon Kitna.
17 years and five weeks later, the Bengals have benched Andy Dalton for rookie Ryan Finley. And just like last time, it was the head coach who made the decision.
Zac Taylor announced during today’s press conference that he was the one who decided to bench Dalton.
Taylor said he came up with the decision to bench Dalton after the Rams game. "I'm the one that thought we needed the change."— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) October 29, 2019
The only alternative to Taylor making the call would be Mike Brown, the team’s owner. Considering Brown was quoted earlier this year about how Dalton would have to prove himself worthy of another contract extension this season, it’d be reasonable to assume he was the one that forced this change.
But like it’s been this entire year, Taylor is the one making the decisions. The first-year head coach also clarified he didn’t believe that Dalton’s play was the reason behind the team’s 0-8 start, but added that they need to see what Finley, his replacement, looks like over a multi-game stretch.
Finley was drafted by Taylor this year in the fourth-round and has yet to take a snap during the regular season. By seeing how Finley performs to close out 2019, Taylor and the Bengals will get to evaluate the roster and the formulate a plan for 2020.