With the 2018-19 NFL season officially coming to an end after Super Bowl LIII, we’ve decided to create a series of articles examining each position group. Today, we’ll take a look at how the quarterback room performed this past season.
QB Position Grade: B-
The Bengals started off the year 4-1 behind some fantastic performances from quarterback Andy Dalton and the rest of a high-powered offense. However, after a significant injury knocked Tyler Eifert out for the season, the offense started to falter and slowly fell apart piece by piece. When looking at Dalton’s performance alone, it’s hard to argue that any of the blame can really be placed on him for the collapse that took place during the course of the season. Yes, there were a few games that he struggled, but you have to keep in mind the guys that he had around him in those certain games. When Green and Eifert are both off the field with injuries, he’s just not the same quarterback. Despite the circumstances, Dalton still managed to have his second-best season in terms of QBR and TD%, while also facing a high sack percentage. In the week 12 game against the Cleveland Browns, Dalton suffered a thumb injury that landed him a spot on the injured reserve and this led to the promotion of backup Jeff Driskel.
As painful as it was to watch Driskel lead the offense towards the end of the season, he really didn’t perform as poorly as it may have seemed. When you consider that he was playing with practice squad players and missing every key player except for Mixon, it’s pretty impressive that the Bengals even managed to stay in games and even win one. Driskel finished the season with a completion percentage around 60% while also throwing for six touchdowns and two interceptions. That’s not too bad for a backup with no experience having to play with practically no weapons around him.
With all of that being said, I have decided to give the Bengals a B- grade for this past season. There’s no doubt in my mind that Andy Dalton is a good quarterback when he has weapons around him, and that was apparent during the first few games of the season. However, he’s still considered to be just an average QB in the NFL and he’s at the point in his career where he won’t be getting much better. He’s not going to reach the level of a Rodgers, Brady, or Brees, but he’s definitely capable of leading this team to the playoffs and I’m excited to see what Zac Taylor can do with a healthy Dalton at the helm. As far as the rest of the QB room goes, there’s definitely some room for improvement. Driskel wasn’t bad, but he’s not going to be the answer for the Bengals moving forward if they need to move on from Andy Dalton. They need to seriously consider drafting a QB in the mid-rounds of this draft, and hopefully Coach Taylor is able to find someone that he feels he can develop while Dalton remains the starter.