Ryan Finley appears to have locked up Bengals’ primary backup QB role

Cincinnati Bengals, Ryan Finley (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals, Ryan Finley (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Ryan Finley appears to be the Cincinnati Bengals’ primary backup quarterback behind Joe Burrow for the 2020 campaign.

When the Cincinnati Bengals traded up to select quarterback Ryan Finley in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL draft, there was quietly a lot of optimism. The former NC State signal-caller showed great anticipation and ability to work through progressions, although his arm strength was called into question. Overall, the potential he offered generated some buzz.

That excitement came crashing down after Zac Taylor and Co. decided to evaluate him, giving him the keys to the offense for three games during last year’s lost season. The 25-year-old wasn’t ready and threw for just 474 yards on 47.1% completion over that time. After such a poor stretch, many had counted Finley out.

However, it appears that he has come back to put together a strong performance, strong enough to lock up the second string spot on the depth chart. In Sunday’s scrimmage, Finley was entrusted with running the second offensive unit.

After a solid performance, Taylor stated in a press conference that he believed they had a great number two option in him. The sentiment expressed likely carries an underlying message that the battle among the backups has been decided.

Ryan Finley had to beat out Jake Dolegala and Brandon Allen

After last season’s showing and the other quarterbacks heading into Bengals’ training camp, Finley certainly had to earn the right to be Joe Burrow’s primary backup.

Jake Dolegala joined the team at the same time as Finley as an undrafted free agent out of Central Connecticut State. With a rocket arm and impressive frame (6’7, 242 pounds), he offered a tempting upside.

Then, the front office brought in Brandon Allen, a guy with ties to the head coach from his Los Angeles Rams days. After spending two years learning under Taylor, he too offered a serious threat to Finley.

Now that the first and second spots in the quarterback room have been figured out, the question becomes whether Cincinnati opts to keep three players at the position and who that player may be.

As things stand, it seems most likely that the team keeps Allen around and attempts to sneak Dolegala onto the practice squad.

Either way, the fact that the team feels comfortable enough to roll with Finley as the number two is a good sign and should make fans feel a little better about his draft position.

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