With organized team activities (OTAs) drawing to a close, the focus for new head coach Zac Taylor and the rest of the Bengals organization shifts to training camp starting July 26th. Here is an early look at a few position battles to watch during camp and the preseason.
1. Jeff Driskel vs. Ryan Finley
The Bengals tend to carry two quarterbacks on their active roster. With an abundance of talent at other positions, it seems unlikely that this will change. That means Driskel and Finley will battle it out to backup Andy Dalton.
Having traded up in the fourth round for Finley, there is a certain level of investment that the Bengals have placed in the former NC State signal caller. However, his performances during OTAs have left a lot to be desired according to longtime Bengals writer Paul Dehner Jr.
The intention was never for Finley to realistically put pressure on Dalton right away. The management have shown faith in Dalton and believe the new system will elevate his game to the next level.
The idea was for Finley to secure the top backup spot with developmental potential. There is plenty of time for him to show improvement during camp and the preseason but, incumbent Jeff Driskel is the early favorite for QB2.
Driskel was thrown into the fire last season and started five games after Dalton’s injury. With a depleted supporting cast it was a struggle. The former Florida Gator only won one of his starts. However, with six touchdowns, there were glimpses of promise from Driskel.
Verdict: It is difficult to see Finley overtaking Driskel, unless he shows signs of improvement quickly. It would be a risk to stick a fourth round quarterback on the practice squad, but Jake Dolegala’s emergence could mean just that for Finley.