Allen, who has spent the entire season on the practice squad, will be making his fourth career NFL start on Sunday against the New York Giants. The other three starts came with the Denver Broncos last season.
The former sixth-round pick in the 2016 draft was picked up by the Bengals during training camp as a contingency option because of COVID-19. He was among the team’s final preseason cuts and was re-added to the practice squad.
NFL Network first reported that Allen would start for the Bengals.
After the Bengals drafted Burrow with the top overall pick in the 2020 draft, the Bengals opted not to add another quarterback to the 53-man roster. On Monday, Bengals coach Zac Taylor said Allen filled that void because of the elevations allowed from the practice squad this season.
“Whether he’s on the active roster or the practice squad doesn’t really matter,” Taylor said. “He’s still in the room doing that kind of stuff.”
Allen and Taylor have a familiarity with each other. The two were with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017 and 2018 when Taylor was an assistant. Taylor noted Allen’s experience with the team’s system when discussing the team’s quarterback options for the rest of the season.
Burrow was placed on injured reserve Monday after he tore multiple ligaments in his left knee during last weekend’s 20-9 loss to Washington. A timetable for Burrow’s surgery or eventual return is still unknown.
Allen earns the nod as Cincinnati’s starter over second-year quarterback Ryan Finley. Finley, a 2019 fourth-round pick, started three games in 2019 as the Bengals evaluated their quarterback options ahead of the 2020 draft.
Finley served as the team’s primary back-up quarterback the last two seasons but was 3-of-10 passing for 30 yards against Washington.
“He’s in a tough spot there in the second half, but that’s life as a backup quarterback,” Taylor said. “You’ve got to get yourself ready to go. There’s things that I wish I could put him in a better position to get a better opportunity, but the bottom line is we didn’t get it done and weren’t able to get any points there in the second half to help us win.”