The Cincinnati Bengals have most of their 2018 regular season players already on the roster. Which quarterbacks of the four will make the cut?
The Cincinnati Bengals have made most of their moves of the 2018 offseason despite the possibility of a couple late free agent snatches following preseason. Regardless, the 53 players that will make the final roster are likely already on the team. When it comes to the quarterback position, which three of the four quarterbacks will make the final cut?
Obviously, veteran starter Andy Dalton will continue to lead the Bengals. Cincinnati chose to stick with Dalton regardless of his poor performance last season. The team is hoping that Dalton can get back to his 2015 performance if they put all the right pieces around him. Having a bolstered offensive line, weapons like tight end Tyler Eifert and wide receiver John Ross coming back from injury, and a steady run game will all have to play their part if Dalton is going to carry this Bengals team to the playoffs.
While Dalton had limited help around him, he played his fair share in the terrible offensive production last season. With his second-worst completion percentage (59.9), Dalton was incredibly inconsistent last season. In just the first six weeks of the 2017 season, he threw for two or more interceptions three times. Dalton will get his chance with a better surrounding cast before head coach Marvin Lewis is ready to start looking elsewhere.
With the departure of backup quarterback A.J. McCarron this offseason, the Bengals went out and signed free agent quarterback Matt Barkley. I was not a fan of this pick as it gave no real cushion in case Dalton was to go down with an injury. The signing also gave no chance of competition to push Dalton this season. The only thing that Barkley brings to the table is his few NFL starts under his belt more recently playing for the Chicago Bears. Because of the starting experience, Barkley will easily win the second quarterback role in 2018.
The last two quarterbacks are where it gets interesting. Some fans have high praise for quarterback Jeff Driskel. Why I couldn’t honestly tell you. He has had a couple of flashes against the lowest of competition, but that’s when he is healthy. The man is made of glass. If Driskel does make the 53-man roster cut as the third quarterback, it will all be because of his knowledge of the system.
If McCarron were still the backup quarterback in Cincinnati, I would be telling you that seventh-round pick Logan Woodside easily gets the third quarterback position. Unfortunately, McCarron leaving means that there is no one but Driskel that is familiar with the offense. Considering Woodside was drafted at the end of the draft, I see him landing on the practice squad for a season if another team does not snatch him.
While I would like to knock out Driskel in order to keep Woodside, especially since if Driskel has to step in because of injury we are screwed anyway, I don’t think the Bengals will let someone with knowledge of the offense go. Even if Barkley were to go down, I think the Bengals would grab another veteran free agent to start over Driskel. I think Cincinnati should either keep Woodside over Driskel or drop Driskel and put Woodside on the practice squad.