With the trade deadline heating up, the Cincinnati Bengals made it known that they were benching nine-year starter and three-time Pro Bowler, Andy Dalton.
It was assumed that his benching may’ve initiated some movement as the NFL’s trade deadline neared on Tuesday afternoon. Sadly it didn’t.
The Bengals are left with the same roster that they had yesterday, a shopping list full of notable problems they can’t do much about and little reason for fans to hope for a bright future.
That said, players were informed early today that Dalton would no longer be the team’s starting quarterback. For some of Dalton’s long-time teammates, it didn’t settle that well, and Bengals.com writer Geoff Hobson was there to document their reactions.
Carlos Dunlap, who has been with the Bengals for the entire Dalton era, also had something to say about the veteran.
“You never like to see guys’ jobs get tempered or played with because at the end of the day you’ve got family. But I think it will probably send a message, shock some things, shake some people up or wake some people up and hopefully put that sense of urgency they have upstairs in the locker room so we can go get that first win.”
A few more Bengals were able to get in on the conversation, but none were as notable as Sam Hubbard, who is ready to play for his position, noting that no one’s job is safe with Dalton now on the bench.
Hubbard has been an Ohio guy through and through as he went to Moeller, a high school in Cincinnati, then Ohio State and now is with the Bengals. But, even he knows that he must perform, and Dalton’s benching reminded him of that.
“Andy’s been our quarterback the last nine years. If they’re willing to do that, they’re willing to do anything. No one’s job is safe. You have to perform. That would be (the message). You never know what they’re thinking upstairs. I trust them to put us in position to win games. I’ll be playing defensive end here trying to do my job.”
Tight end C.J. Uzomah also expressed support for Dalton.
“Knowing the personality he has,” Uzomah said. “He’s still a very big part of this team and a big leader on this team and someone everyone can lean on. I don’t see him backing down from the leadership role.”
But at the end of the day, Finley is the quarterback now, and Dunlap will support both signal-callers.
“Andy is our franchise quarterback but the starting quarterback for the Bengals this next game is Ryan Finley,” Dunlap said. “Andy will be behind him. We support Andy and we support Ryan. He’s our quarterback.”
Dalton has just nine touchdowns to go along with eight interceptions this season. After back-to-back interceptions to plummet the team’s chances in their Week 7 home loss against Jacksonville, Dalton must have known that he was on thin ice in Week 8.
He had 329 yards and one touchdown in yet another loss. That said, it was time for Dalton to take a backseat, and it is a clear message to perform or be replaced from Zac Taylor and the Cincinnati Bengals.