CINCINNATI (AP) — Andy Dalton disagrees with his benching by the Cincinnati Bengals and the way they waited until shortly before the trade deadline to inform him, leaving no time to see if another team was interested.
Coach Zac Taylor decided Tuesday to switch to rookie Ryan Finley so the 0-8 Bengals can start making long-term decisions on the quarterback spot. If Finely struggles, the Bengals could draft another quarterback next year.
The move was announced on Dalton’s 32nd birthday. He waited a day before sharing his thoughts with teammates.
“I talked to everybody in the team meeting today and just said I don’t agree with the decision, but I’m here and I’m going to do my part and I’m going to be the same guy that I’ve been since I’ve got here,” the ninth-year veteran said.
Taylor informed Dalton of the switch early Tuesday afternoon.
“I think that’s an unfortunate thing,” Dalton said. “It happened three hours before the trade deadline. I wish if he was thinking about it at least let me try to see if I could end up somewhere else or at least see if there’s interest in possibly getting traded. At that point the way it was handled there wasn’t enough time to even have that happen.”
The move followed a 24-10 loss to the Rams in London that left the Bengals with their worst start in 11 years. The Bengals drafted Finley in the fourth round as Dalton’s backup, and he’ll get a chance to win the job.
Taylor emphasized that he wasn’t blaming Dalton for the 0-8 start. The Bengals have the worst running game in the NFL and Dalton has been sacked the third-most times behind an offensive line struggling to open holes and protect the quarterback. Finley will have that working against him as well as his inexperience.
Dalton has one year left on his deal. The benching indicates he doesn’t fit in the team’s long-term plans.
“If this is the end here, I don’t know,” Dalton said. “I don’t know what the future holds, but this is not how I envisioned it.”
Finley hasn’t taken a snap in a regular-season game. The Bengals are on their bye week, giving him extra time to prepare for his debut against the Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. Finley ran the starting offense for the first time Wednesday, with receiver A.J. Green participating as he continues to recover from ankle surgery.
The Bengals changed their practice schedule because of a forecast of heavy rain — they don’t have a covered field. It rained during the workout.
“I threw my first pass to A.J. Green, so that was exciting,” Finley said. “The weather is what it is, but it was fun to get out there.”
Green is next on the Bengals’ to-do list. He hurt his left ankle during the first practice of training camp but is hoping to return against Baltimore. Green can become a free agent after the season and has expressed an interest in staying, if the team is willing to make a suitable offer. Contract talks were put on hold while he recuperated.
“We kind of slowed things down just for me to get healthy,” Green said Wednesday after practice. “They actually can see that I can go out there and play, then we can talk about a deal. That was my decision.”
Green was relieved when the Bengals didn’t trade him this week. However, he said he’ll be upset if they fail to reach an agreement and the team uses the franchise tag on him to keep him for one more year.
“For me, it would be an insult,” Green said. “No, I’m not into a one-year (contract). Give me a long-term (deal) or just let me go.”