With Marvin Lewis as the head coach, the Bengals will likely not have any QB controversy. Should there be one this year, though?
If you saw my news feed on facebook.com during and after the game on Saturday night, you would think that there should be a QB controversy. My page was filled with statuses claiming Jeff Driskel should be the starting QB.
After looking so good in the first preseason game, Andy Dalton and the first team offense looked very much like the 2017 Bengals offense. As we all know, the 2017 was among the worst offenses in the NFL last year.
The offensive line, for the second week in a row, was unable to get consistent push in the running game. Pass blocking wasn’t much better as the right side of the offensive line struggled in this game.
Andy Dalton, even when he did have time, missed two deep throws to AJ Green, an issue we have seen numerous times the last few seasons. When you have one of the NFL’s best deep-ball receivers in AJ Green, you can’t miss him deep as much as Dalton seems to do.
Jeff Driskel, on the other hand, came in and once again looked very steady and made some true NFL-level throws. The best throw of the night was a perfect 30 yard pass to Alex Erickson on 3rd and 11. Driskel dropped the ball in perfectly for Erickson on the sideline so he could keep his feet in bounds.
Jeff Driskel has been very impressive going back to last preseason. According to NFL.com, over the last two preseasons for the Bengals, he has completed 34 out of 52 attempts, which is good for a 65% completion rate. He has thrown for 423 yards with an 8.1 yard average per throw and a QB rating of 97. Driskel was the second-highest graded offensive player in last week’s game against Dallas, according to PFF.
Considering these impressive statistics, does that mean Driskel deserves to start for the Bengals this year? Is he the best player for the job?
No. Here’s why.
The Bengals best chance to win this season is still Andy Dalton. I know that may be an unpopular opinion right now. However, at this time Dalton, is still the best option.
Believe me, I have not been the biggest Andy Dalton supporter the last 2 seasons. I even strongly backed AJ McCarron to start over Dalton last year. While I still believe AJ McCarron could have done very well with this team, that debate is for another day.
The team seems very much in “win-now” mode, and Dalton gives them that best chance still this year. The Bengals have added weapons around him, and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is going to put an offensive system around Dalton that best fits him.
Dalton should get the chance to use his legs more, which could help keep defense off-balance. Joe Mixon, entering his second year, should help spread the field out for Dalton as well. The offensive line, though still weak, has undoubtedly improved over last season.
Jeff Driskel needs to be the backup QB on this team, and hopefully the Bengals make the right decision in that regard. He may not be the best guy for this season, but I definitely see potential there for him. He has the arm talent to start at some point in the NFL – just not this season for the Bengals.
For this season, there isn’t going to be a QB controversy. Although there will always be Jeff Driskel stans, he just does not give this team the best chance to win this season. Dalton will be the starter in 2018.