They say in sports, you’re only as good as weakest link, and in some cases, that can be a teams’ backup quarterback. The last time the Bengals had to rely on their backup QB to start, it was Ryan Fitzpatrick starting 12/16 games in 2008 when the Bengals only won four games. While that was a bad Bengals squad from top to bottom, Fitzpatrick has been the starting QB in Buffalo now for four straight years, and never won more than six games in a season.
The Bengals are coming off nine and 10-win seasons, and will be expected to win at least nine games again in 2013 as they’re expected to return the majority of their roster and coaching staff. But as we’ve seen with teams like the Chicago Bears (2011 & 2012), Indianapolis Colts (2011), not to mention the Minnesota Vikings in their playoff game this year when Joe Webb was ineffective against the Green Bay Packers while starting in the injured place of Christian Ponder, not having an adequate backup QB can be a death sentence for teams.
But look at the 2011 Houston Texans, who lost Matt Schaub with four games remaining, and rookie 6th-rounder T.J. Yates guided Houston to a division-clinching win over the Bengals, as well as a Wild-Card win and a mere 7-point loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round.