On Wednesday, it was reported that the Cincinnati Bengals were planning to add Brandon Allen as insurance and potentially to compete for being Joe Burrow’s backup. Allen most recently played for the Denver Broncos, but he was previously on the same Los Angeles Rams team as head coach Zac Taylor.
This leaves 2019 fourth-round pick Ryan Finley wondering what his role will be.
Finely started three games last year and was... less than spectacular. He was constantly hurried, sacked 11 times, and completed just 47.1% of his passes, which is almost unheard of these days. I say “almost” because his new challenger, Allen, was somehow even worse, completing just 46.4% of his throws.
For reference, Tim Tebow completed 47.9% of his passes in his career.
If you’re into more advanced stats, Allen’s QBR was 38.1 and Finley’s was 23.5. An average QBR is 50. Allen’s adjusted yards gained per attempt was 5.8 and Finley’s was 4.9.
To put that in perspective, Mason Rudolph of the Pittsburgh Steelers had the worst AY/A of all qualifying players with 5.7.
Now, fans might be clamoring for a proven vet, one who can—at the very least—pass along words of wisdom. And, at the very most, can keep the boat afloat if—heaven forbid—Burrow misses time. The 41-year-old Josh McCown immediately comes to mind.
However, the reality is, Taylor seems to prefer someone who’s been in his system. That applies to both Allen and Finley. Furthermore, the Bengals traded up to draft Finley in the fourth round and thought enough of him to finally bench longtime starter Andy Dalton to see what they have in the NC State product.
Remember, Finley shined in the 2019 preseason. His pocket presence stood out, though his lack of arm strength was always clear.
Meanwhile, Allen is one of only three SEC quarterbacks to earn a 90.0-plus grade from Pro Football Focus since 2014. The other two are Tua Tagovailoa and one Joe Burrow. In other words, Taylor and offensive coordinator Brian Callahan may still see potential in the two.
In short, it does not look like the team will be adding another vet. So the options are Finley, Allen, and the rocket-armed-but-still-raw Jake Dolegala. Let’s just hope the Bengals’ o-line can keep Burrow upright.