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Ryan Finley making a push for backup QB job

After a rough showing in OTAs, Finley appears to have found his footing in Zac Taylor’s offense.

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NFL: MAY 10 Bengals Rookie Mini-Camp Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One of the biggest stories of Bengals OTAs was how much rookie Ryan Finley was struggling.

After all, the team traded up to select the former NC State passer in the top of Round 4 in the NFL Draft, a clear sign that the Bengals felt he was someone they should look to develop in hopes he could become a solid backup behind Andy Dalton.

But after Finley left a lot to be desired in offseason workouts and minicamp, some wondered if he’d even do enough to warrant keeping as a third quarterback on the 53-man roster.

Thankfully, Finley appears to have found his footing in training camp, highlighted by a good showing during Saturday’s team scrimmage, as Geoff Hobson writes:

It was probably rookie Ryan Finley’s best day yet throwing the ball spring or summer. He had two red-zone TD passes, one to tight end Mason Schreck down the middle of the seam just before he ran out of the end zone and one to rookie wide receiver Stanley Morgan on an inside slant near the goal line that Morgan ran in from about two yards out.

Then on Monday, Finley actually received reps with the second-team offense where the incumbent Jeff Driskel has been getting nearly every rep thus far.

On Tuesday, head coach Zac Taylor spoke with the Cincinnati Enquirer about Finley’s progress.

“He does some good things. As any rookie would go, it’s a challenge to pick up a pretty big playbook right off the bat and the biggest thing is getting him to play with confidence. He’s a confident kid. Just keep preparing him,” Taylor said. “That’s why he’s here.”

Now, it’s still very early in the preseason, but this is a very positive step in the right direction for Finley, who certainly had his limitations in college, but he showed enough to think he could develop into a nice backup behind Dalton in the coming years.

While Driskel figures to keep that job in 2019, last year showed he clearly wasn’t someone you’d want running an offense in the event Dalton gets injured. Perhaps Finely could actually become someone who keeps this offense afloat if Dalton ever misses time again.

We should get a better idea of how good Finely can be in the pros this Saturday when the Bengals open preseason play vs. the Chiefs. With Dalton likely getting just a series or two, this will be a game Driskel and Finely will see extensive playing time in.