The midseason quarterback switch made by Bengals head coach Zac Taylor hasn’t provided the spark he had hoped. Ryan Finley is 0-3 as an NFL starter and hasn’t cracked the 200-yard mark in any contest.
Because of numbers like those, Taylor was asked about a possible move back to Andy Dalton after the team fell to 0-11 at the hands of the Steelers this Sunday.
Taylor said if rookies had just three games to be evaluated there wouldn’t be a lot of players left in the league.— Laurel Pfahler (@LaurelPfahler) November 24, 2019
When Dalton was the team’s signal-caller this year, the club was 0-8, but he was top-five in NFL passing yards at the time of his benching. Cincinnati was the worst in the league at running the football in those eight games, but in the three “Finley era” games, Joe Mixon has run for 279 yards (an average of 93 yards per game) and a 4.4 yards per carry average.
Regardless, Taylor’s words in the second part of the interview may be a bit more telling, as they may point to continuing to give Finley more chances. Still, this isn’t exactly a “Ryan Finley is our starting quarterback” definitive type of statement.
The Bengals’ offense mustered just a 16 percent success rate on third down against Pittsburgh and have scored a total of 33 points in the three games he has started. Furthermore, Finley has thrown two touchdowns, against two interceptions, with two lost fumbles and has just a 47.1 completion percentage.
If the goal is to win games, it would appear that going back to Dalton provides the best route. However, if the team truly is in evaluation mode and is more eyeing the draft and 2020 roster outlook, staying put with Finley is what needs to be done.
It’s a tough decision to make for Taylor, but it’s one that will send a message to the team. What message that is, exactly, isn’t clear.