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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

QB Ryan Finley gets first crack at running Bengals' offense

Fri May 10 3:44pm ET
By JOE KAY
AP Sports Writer

Players: Andy Dalton, Jeff Driskel, Ryan Finley

Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks Ryan Finley, left, and Jake Dolegala run a drill during NFL football rookie minicamp Friday, May 10, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)


Cincinnati Bengals tight end Drew Sample, front, catches a ball during an NFL football rookie minicamp Friday, May 10, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)


Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley drops back to pass during NFL football rookie minicamp Friday, May 10, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)


Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor watches players during NFL football rookie camp Friday, May 10, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)


Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley throws during an NFL football rookie minicamp Friday, May 10, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)


Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley, left, and linebacker Germaine Pratt walk off the field following an NFL football rookie minicamp Friday, May 10, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)


CINCINNATI (AP) With the Bengals' first practice concluded, Ryan Finley walked past Andy Dalton's locker and headed to a side locker room where the rookies are relegated until the final roster cut. The two quarterbacks will be much closer once the season begins.

How close? That'll be up to Finley.

The fourth-round pick from N.C. State is competing with Jeff Driskel for the chance to be the No. 2 quarterback for now. Dalton is under contract for two more seasons, and coach Zac Taylor has declared him the unchallenged starter.

Finley started learning the offense this week and went through the first rookie minicamp practice on Friday, getting accustomed to a new setting and a new offense. Taylor liked the way Finley grasped the limited part of the offense he's been taught and made corrections on the field.

''I thought he had good command in the huddle,'' Taylor said. ''I was pleased. One time we broke the huddle, we weren't on the same page, and he got them back in there. Day 1, that's a good start for him, showing those qualities.''

Finley was nervous and floated a few throws, but otherwise was pleased with the scaled-back workout.

''I hadn't been in a setting like that in a while,'' Finley said. ''I could have thrown it better, but I think that's just the first day.''

The Bengals moved up in the fourth round to take Finley, the highest spot they've drafted a quarterback since they got Dalton in the second round in 2011. Cincinnati was one of three teams, along with Detroit and Washington, that brought him in for pre-draft visits.

Finley didn't play football until high school. His father grew up in Minnesota and played hockey, so that was Finley's main sport as a youth.

''It was something we could do together,'' Finley said. ''When I got a little bit older, I kind of played on the same teams as my dad.''

Finley played seven games at Boise State before transferring to N.C. State, where he played three seasons. As a senior, he completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 3,928 yards with 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

The Bengals think he'll be a good complement to Dalton, who has a similar passing style in their West Coast offense. Dalton texted Finley after he was drafted, but they hadn't yet met as of Friday. Finley has spent time watching video of Dalton to learn the offense.

''I've heard so many awesome things and just watching him on film these past couple days trying to learn the offense, I'm impressed,'' Finley said.

The main challenge for Finley is grasping a playbook that's far more complicated in how plays are described and called.

''It's very new for me,'' he said. ''Very wordy, but it's fun. It's what I like.''

SCALED BACK

Taylor won't do any 11-on-11 drills during his first rookie minicamp as Bengals head coach, putting more of an emphasis on getting players up to speed on the playbooks while undrafted rookies try to impress during individual drills.

''We're kind of in-between,'' Taylor said. ''You're not going to see any 11 on 11, but it's more than a tryout.''

HITTING THE GROUND

The Bengals practiced on their grass fields adjacent to Paul Brown Stadium, which were damp from an overnight rain. Several players slipped while running routes.

''A little slick,'' Taylor said. ''It's not ideal when it rains for your first practice.''

Player Notes
Derrius Guice Aug 7 11:30pm ET

The Washington Football Team has released running back Derrius Guice following a domestic abuse arrest. The oft-injured Guice was expected to be the lead back for Washington's running back committee this year, but the release obviously changes everything in Washington. Veteran running back Adrian Peterson should now see the bulk of the carries, while rookie Antonio Gibson gets chances on passing downs. Gibson gets a boost in dynasty leagues after Guice's release, while Peterson is now a viable top-100 pick in virtually all re-draft leagues. As for Guice, his arrest could be the end of his disappointing NFL career. He's off the radar in redraft and becomes borderline rosterable in dynasty.

From RotoBaller

Jerick McKinnon Aug 7 10:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon has been one of the more impressive players at training camp, according to Cam Inman of The Mercury News. In particular, McKinnon's route running out of the backfield has looked crisp. It is welcomed news for the 28-year-old, as he has missed the entirety of the past two seasons with injuries. McKinnon may be able to carve out a role for himself as a pass-catching, third-down back, but he has to battle Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman for touches. If McKinnon continues his strong play, the 49ers backfield may become even more of a headache for fantasy owners.

From RotoBaller

Derrius Guice Aug 7 7:23pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Guice likely will not receive much interest from other teams because of the arrest, but fantasy players can keep an eye on the situation. Adrian Peterson likely will handle most of the carries for Washington this season and can be at least a No. 3 running back in standard fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Calvin Ridley Aug 7 7:00pm ET

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From RotoBaller

Dont'a Hightower Aug 7 3:06pm ET

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Calvin Ridley Aug 7 3:03pm ET

Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley has 'really put in a good offseason ... he's bigger, stronger,' Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said Friday, Aug. 7, in a media conference call.

Fantasy Spin: Ridley has caught 127 passes over his first two seasons, including 17 TDs -- three more than teammate Julio Jones over the same span -- and is a legit WR2 in all formats.

From TheHuddle

James Washington Aug 7 2:20pm ET

The Pittsburgh Steelers activated wide receiver James Washington from the COVID-19 reserve list on Friday. Washington was placed on the list on August 2. The third-year wide receiver has 60 receptions for 952 yards and four touchdowns across his two NFL seasons. The team released linebacker John Houston, an undrafted rookie free-agent, in a corresponding move to create room on the roster for Washington. Washington will compete to be the No. 3 receiver in Pittsburgh behind JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson this season.

From RotoBaller

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From RotoBaller

Sterling Shepard Aug 7 1:23pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Shephard, still only 27, has caught at least 57 passes in all four seasons in N.Y., including 57 in 10 games last season. He's a WR4 with upside, particularly in PPR leagues.

From TheHuddle

Vinny Curry Aug 7 1:23pm ET

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From TheHuddle

Cam Newton Aug 7 12:53pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Newton first will have to stay healthy and then also beat out Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer for the starting gig. If A and B are accomplished, Newton will enter the season as a QB2 but one with considerable upside.

From TheHuddle

Dion Jordan Aug 7 12:53pm ET

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From TheHuddle

Aug 7 12:53pm ET

New York Giants LS Zak DeOssie on Friday, Aug. 7, announced his retirement.

From TheHuddle

Vic Beasley Aug 7 11:53am ET

Tennessee Titans LB Vic Beasley reported for COVID-19 testing Friday, Aug. 7.

From TheHuddle

James Washington Aug 7 11:13am ET

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Fantasy Spin: Washington could start opposite of Juju Smith-Schuster, but he'll need to step it up to stave off Chase Claypool. Washington figures to be a WR4 or WR5 in fantasy.

From TheHuddle

Corey Davis Aug 6 7:03pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: This would be a greater concern if Davis was actually missing meaningful practices while on the PUP list. There shouldn't be any major concern, and he'll still enter the season as the No. 2 option behind A.J. Brown.

From TheHuddle

M.J. Stewart Aug 6 5:43pm ET

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From TheHuddle

Rod Smith Aug 6 5:33pm ET

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From TheHuddle

Josh Doctson Aug 6 5:33pm ET

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Rashaan Melvin Aug 6 5:23pm ET

Updating a previous story, Jacksonville Jaguars DB Rashaan Melvin was placed on the Reserve/Opt-Out list Thursday, Aug. 6.

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