Dalton's Back


Jim Rome
November 26, 2019 - 11:23 am
Ryan Finley and Andy Dalton

USA Today


It’s been a minute since I checked on the Cincinnati Bengals. And looking at them right now, they’re not good. In fact, they’re HORRIBLE. And their latest move proves that once again.

Three games after benching Andy Dalton on his birthday in favor of rookie Ryan Finley, the team announced that it was making another quarterback change.

Who is the new quarterback? Well, let’s let a certain late 80s movie tell you.

That’s right, Andy Dalton is back. The Red Rifle. After benching Dalton and not trading him, for no apparent reason, they’re going back to him, for no apparent reason.

Which raises another question for the Bengals.

“Do you enjoy pain?” Might as well be the 2019 Bengals team motto. And the answer is yes. Not only do they enjoy pain, but they enjoy pointless pain.

And then trying to justify it.

This was head coach Zac Taylor on Sunday talking about rookie quarterback Ryan Finley after the loss to Pittsburgh: “When you look across the league at any young quarterbacks playing, look at their first three games. There’s struggles. We always have to look at all our personnel, but you also have to understand, at the same time, that there’s some challenges. We’re down two starting receivers right now. That’s hard for a rookie quarterback. Those other guys are playing their tails off. But we have to give him a chance. That’s where we’re at right now.”

And this was Zac Taylor on Monday, explaining why they weren’t giving Finley another chance: "It was not an easy decision any time we've had to make it, which has been twice this year. But it's in the best interest of the football team to do this and get Andy back out there."

Sunday night, it’s okay to lose. But less than 24 hours later, they have to get better and they have to get better right now!  ,

C’mon Zack, man who are you kidding with that. The best interest of this football team is to lose games and get the first pick. The best interest of the team isn’t to actually try to win games.

Don’t get me wrong. Ryan Finley wasn’t good. The team never scored multiple touchdowns in a game he started. He completed 47% of his passes. In three starts, he had five turnovers and two touchdowns.

In other words, he was perfect. Not only was he not good, He was awful. Which is exactly what you need right now. A guy who could go out there and find ways to lose games for you. He was the difference between 2-9 and 0-11. If Andy Dalton was playing, they probably win the last two games they played. And you don’t want that.

The last thing you want is Andy Dalton going out there, having his pride and professional self-preservation kick in and gut out a win or two: believe me, it’s not going to change how he’s seen or how the organization is seen, but it could really damage the franchise.  A franchise that doesn’t know who the hell they are or what the hell they’re doing.

They didn’t trade Andy Dalton, even though they know he’s not the future. They didn’t trade AJ Green, even though he could’ve gotten them something. Instead, they stuck to their guns and got an 0-11 record. At least they’re working their plan. Or they were.  Because now, inexplicably, they’re actually trying to win. On some level, I get it: no one wants to go 0-16. But you know what’s worse?  2-14. 3-13 is a catastrophe because he actually trying, and saving face could cost you the first pick.

Just accept that it’s broken and stop trying to fix it. Leave Finley out there to keep doing what he’s doing: or not doing. And no I don’t care that he’s not the quarterback of the future; neither is Dalton. 

Benching Dalton for Finley was a great move. It was bold. It was dramatic. It made you think the Bengals had a plan. They were 0-8, there was a cliff in front of them, and they were gunning the engine. Now they’re approaching that cliff and trying to swerve away. Don’t do it. 

Gun the engine. Head for the cliff. And sail through the air. Go for 0-16. Embrace the suck. Don’t just be bad, be terrible, because that’s the only chance you’ll ever have or ever being respectable ever again. Imagine all that heat that Marvin Lewis look for never getting over in the postseason: my man looks like Vince Lombardi right about now. The fact that he did what he did with that organization seems incredible now.