Bengals Conspiracy Theory: Stealth Tank was ALWAYS the plan
By Logi Baker
There are two ways to transition to a new quarterback. The most common way nowadays is to draft one and throw them into the deep end immediately. You risk eroding your rookie quarterbacks confidence, & damaging the fans’ opinion of him if you can’t quickly fix the other deficiencies in your team. This is what the Browns have done for the last decade.
The other option is to have a bridge quarterback who is stable enough to run the team while you fill the holes in the roster. A player mature enough to absorbs all of the heat that would be thrown at the coach while the team is rebuilding. We’ve seen this method used recently by the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants to install their young quarterbacks. Enter Andy Dalton.
The Bengals didn’t draft Haskins because they knew that they were going to have a bad season. There’s a large cross-section of Ohio State and Bengals fans, so imagine the backlash that Taylor would receive if Haskins was sitting behind Dalton right now. Then think about what would happen if Haskins is started and the team still struggles to win games. Fans are not going to blame their beloved rookie quarterback. All the blame would squarely fall on the shoulders of the young head coach.
So how did Bengals prevent Taylor from facing the exact scenario that resulted in Jay Gruden losing his head coaching job in Washington? They recommitted to Dalton by drafting the Dalton-Esque Ryan Finley. They immediately declared him to be competing specifically for the back-up position only moments after drafting him. This Is how they secured Andy Dalton has the starter for the entire season. Now, even if Dalton has a bad game, there isn’t the hope of Haskins sitting behind him. If you’re not a fan of Dalton you’re probably not excited to see a younger less-experienced version of him starting either.
There’s a possibility that Dalton got sold on the idea to help the team out by building draft capital and suffering through 2019, and then still have a chance to truly prove himself in 2020. Or, he might just be the type to recognize that his time is coming to an end and is a nice enough guy to help ease the transition. Eli Manning did it for his team, who’s to say Dalton wouldn’t do the same for the Bengals.
There’s one bit of circumstantial evidence that had me convinced that Dalton is aware of the situation he finds himself in. Both he and Zac Taylor used similar verbiage in their post-game interviews following the Steelers defeat. Both men conveying the same message, Coach Taylor saying, “We’re going to turn things around with the guys we have in that locker room.” While Dalton stated, “We have the guys here, we have the right type of people here. Everybody is going to stick together”.
Suggesting that both the coach and quarterback have been made aware that trades or signings are not likely on the way. They’re going to win with the players currently in the locker room… or they’re not going to win at all.