On the afternoon of Wednesday, October 30th, just three hours before the trade deadline, the Bengals made a big announcement. It was not a trade, but a benching of 9-year veteran quarterback Andy Dalton in favor of rookie quarterback Ryan Finley (a 4th round pick out of NC State). With the Bengals’ record at 0-8 there is seemingly nothing to lose. Starting Finley will give management the opportunity to see what they have and ultimately decide if they should draft a quarterback with their potential first-round pick.
Andy Dalton has struggled the last few weeks, especially against the Jaguars in week 7 when he threw 3 interceptions in the 4th quarter alone, one of those being a pick 6. This season Dalton has a 60% completion percentage with 9 touchdowns and 8 interceptions and 2,252 passing yards.
Ryan Finley will be making his NFL debut on Sunday against the Bengals AFC North rival the Baltimore Ravens. Finley began his college career at Boise State where he played in just three games his freshmen year (2014) and four games his sophomore year (2015). After a 2016 transfer to North Carolina State, he finished his senior season with a 67% completion percentage, 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions for 3,298 yards.
Finley looked impressive during the preseason when playing against backups. He had a 73% completion percentage for 3 touchdowns and 1 interception and 414 yards.