The Cincinnati Bengals are a team with more questions than answers. The struggling NFL franchise hasn’t made the playoffs the last three seasons and are winless to start 2019. Clearly something had to change, even if that meant benching the organization’s most consistent player over the last decade.
Ever since he came into the league as a second-round pick, quarterback Andy Dalton has been Cincinnati’s rock. He led them to five-straight NFL playoff appearances to start his career and earned three Pro Bowl selections along the way. However, the era of the Red Rifle is apparently coming to an end.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is benching Dalton and plans to start rookie Ryan Finley against the Baltimore Ravens after the team’s bye week.
Bengals Bench Andy Dalton
Going with Finley, a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft out of North Carolina State, is definitely mixing it up following a 24-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. But what makes matters worse is the report came out on Dalton’s birthday.
Seriously, after all QB Andy Dalton did for the Bengals, he deserved better than his 32nd birthday present being a spot on the bench. It really could have waited for a different day.
Dalton wasn’t exactly the problem, either. In eight games, without star wide receiver A.J. Green, he completed over 60 percent of his passes for 2,252 yards with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. He’s also been sacked a whopping 29 times.
At the trade deadline, the winless Bengals are obviously waiving the white flag on the season. This isn’t the first time a team has done this, but it’s very cruel Cincinnati did it to Dalton, who has 128 career starts.
Needless to say, it’s going to be weird not seeing that No. 14 jersey on the gridiron next Sunday.
Losses to the Seahawks, 49ers, Bills, Steelers, Cardinals, Ravens, Jaguars, and Rams were apparently too much to overcome for a rookie head coach to keep playing his veteran quarterback.