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2018 Bengals position review: Quarterbacks

Andy Dalton ended the year on IR, and the future of the position seems to be in question.

New Orleans Saints v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

With the NFL Combine coming to an end and free agency just around the corner, now is the perfect time to do what Zac Taylor and his freshly-hired assistants have done over the past couple of weeks: evaluate the Bengals’ roster.

Injuries plagued most positions for the Bengals in 2018, and the quarterback position was no exception. We begin our position reviews with the most important position in the game.

Key players:

  • Andy Dalton
  • Jeff Driskel
  • Brad Kaaya

2019 potential free agents:

  • Tom Savage

2018 Summary

The addition of Alex Van Pelt as quarterbacks coach seemed to be a positive for Andy Dalton. Unfortunately, as the season went on, Dalton lost one of his top targets in tight end Tyler Eifert and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s offense got stagnant and his production suffered.

Dalton ended the season on IR after suffering a thumb injury late in the season. Preseason star Jeff Driskel stepped into the lineup, but was not as dynamic in the regular season as he was in August. He competed admirably, but did not give the Bengals the late season spark they needed to make a run.

2019 Outlook and Need

Dalton’s future is the biggest question of the offseason. There has been some talk about trading Dalton and bringing in Ryan Tannehill, who played for Taylor in Miami. Tannehill is still with the Dolphins as of this writing, but Cincinnati did add a quarterback familiar to new offensive coordinator Brian Callahan in Brad Kaaya. Driskel and Kaaya figure to compete to be the backup in Taylor’s new offense.

Odds are Dalton will be the Bengals starter in 2019, but the team hired a quarterbacks coach as their head coach for a reason. They are expecting more out of Dalton and even if it is not immediately, the organization is thinking about the future of the position.

Unless they decide to trade up, they likely won’t draft a quarterback in the first round, but they could look at acquire one later in the draft. Dalton’s season has ended early in two of the last four seasons due to injury.

They need to improve the backup quarterback position be it through free agency or the draft, They also need to consider the long term future of the club and if they can build a contender around Dalton, or if they need to move on sooner than later.