Rookie quarterback Ryan Finley hasn’t shaken the Bengals out of their season-long winless skid.
Nor is it all his fault. That kind of losing can’t be fairly pinned on any one man.
But rookie coach Zac Taylor said he wasn’t going to replace Finley for this week’s game against the Steelers.
“Ryan is our starter this week for Pittsburgh,” Taylor said, via John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I have a hard time looking beyond that. We feel like he’s going to give us an opportunity to win this week.”
Nothing he did against the Raiders last week actually suggests that. He was 13-of-31 for 115 yards with an interception (39.0 passer rating), and was sacked five times. He’s also welcomed to the league by having his best available receiver complaining about a lack of action. But Taylor isn’t ready to go back to Andy Dalton, which would seem pointless since they’re already eliminated from playoff contention and atop the 2020 NFL Draft order.
“We wouldn’t play Ryan if we didn’t feel like he didn’t give us a chance to win the game,” Taylor said. “He wouldn’t be on the field. I see enough really encouraging things from him, whether it’s his preparation over the course of the week, how he’s practicing, the difference between Week 2 to Week 1, in a lot of those areas. You can see his confidence starting to grow.
“Now he’s playing different styles of defenses each week. Each one gives you certain things and other things that would frustrate you, and you need to learn from them.
“I’m encouraged by what his approach has been the last few weeks and the steps he’s taking. It’s not always going to show up in every rep in every single game. I feel comfortable with where we’re at with him.”
So, he’s got that going for him.