The Bengals made a change at quarterback Tuesday, with head coach Zac Taylor going door to door informing players during their position meetings. They were surprised but not surprised at the same time.
“Nothing seems to be going right this season,” receiver Tyler Boyd said, via Geoff Hobson of the team website. “It’s not Andy’s fault. There are plays he wishes he had back out there and every guy in this locker room feels the same way. The quarterback is just the most pressured position. I praise Andy for doing what he’s done here. He’s got great numbers. A Pro Bowler. He’s a No. 1 quarterback in my eyes.”
Rookie Ryan Finley will make his first career start Nov. 10 against the Ravens when the Bengals return from their off week.
Dalton lost his job because of the Bengals’ 0-8 record.
“It’s difficult because of all the good things he’s done since he started. You can’t be insensitive to that,” defensive captain Shawn Williams said. “But at the same time we still have a job to do and we still have to fully support Ryan and handle it business-wise and go about it the right way.”
Only five players remain from 2010 when Dalton wasn’t the Bengals’ starting quarterback. Even during the eight games Dalton missed in his career for injury, including five last season, the job always was his when he was healthy.
Now, despite Dalton being healthy, the job belongs to someone else.
“You never like to see guys’ jobs get tempered or played with because at the end of the day you’ve got family,” defensive end Carlos Dunlap said. “But I think it will probably send a message, shock some things, shake some people up or wake some people up and hopefully put that sense of urgency they have upstairs in the locker room so we can go get that first win.”
Who knows what Dalton’s long-term future is? For now, for the first time in his career, he is a backup quarterback.