The post-Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals of 2020 have a new starting quarterback, and it apparently isn’t Ryan Finley.
Per NFL insider Mike Garafolo, the Bengals will start Brandon Allen this Sunday against the New York Giants.
The #Bengals are planning to start QB Brandon Allen on Sunday vs. the #Giants, according to sources. Allen was on the practice squad until the other day when he replaced Joe Burrow on the roster. Ryan Finley, who came in for Burrow against #WashingtonFootball Team, will back up.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) November 25, 2020
This is a bit of a surprise considering Finley has been Burrow’s backup the entire season, but it does make sense when you factor in how awful Finley has played when he’s gotten the chance to do so.
The Bengals traded up in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft to select Finley, and in three-and-a-half games with the team, Finley has thrown for 504 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions, and has completed 45% of his 97 passes. Most of that production came from the three starts he made last season after the team benched Andy Dalton in the middle of the season.
From an EPA/Play perspective, Finley has been the worst of 55 quarterbacks that have accounted for at least 100 plays since 2019. And he was so bad last year that the Bengals had to go back on their decision and start Dalton to finish the year.
Allen, who had been on the practice squad for the entire 2020 season up until Monday, was elevated to give the Bengals two quarterbacks on the active roster, and he’ll now get the first real chance to run this offense over Finley.
As a backup for the Denver Broncos last year, Allen started three games—just like Finley—and threw for 515 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions, and completed 45% of his 84 passes. He was also a backup for the Los Angeles Rams when Zac Taylor was an assistant with the team, and his familiarity with Taylor was why he was signed by Cincinnati this past August.
The Bengals may sign another quarterback to replace Allen on the practice squad this week, but they’re going forward with Allen as the starter, for now.