Led by Andy Dalton, the Cincinnati Bengals finished third in the AFC with an 11-5 record. Winning the AFC North title and earning a three seed in the playoffs was a big step for this young Cincinnati team. But given the success, and this being the Bengals’ third straight trip to the postseason, fans were not satisfied with a division title; Especially if it did not come with a win in the playoffs. Something the franchise has failed to accomplish in over 20 years.
The Bengals first round matchup against the San Diego Chargers notched their third straight one-and-done postseason. Quarterback Andy Dalton had the spotlight shining right on him, as he lost his composure. As well as the game. Whether it was over throwing a receiver or making a bad mistake under pressure, Dalton lost all control of the game in the second half. His three crucial turnovers were daggers right in the heart of his team.
There is no doubt Dalton is a talented young quarterback. It is his inability to get it done when the games mean most, that has warranted such heavy criticism. This is something that Andy Dalton can work on. If the Bengals brought in a veteran quarterback to help instill composure and poise in the mind of the young quarterback, it could go a long way. Many NFL quarterbacks have had “mentors,” or an older player that helps them mature quicker than most. Guys like: Aaron Rodgers (Brett Favre), Tom Brady (Drew Bledsoe), Colin Kaepernick (Alex Smith), and even Michael Vick was mentored by Donvan McNabb.
There are a few seasoned quarterbacks available in free agency. Guys that won’t need to start and would be willing to work with Andy Dalton on his game preparation, decision making, and ability to handle adversity. Some job-less QBs Cincinnati should think about bringing in are: Byron Leftwich, David Carr, Charlie Batch, and Matt Leinart. All of these guys have played an ample amount of games in the NFL, and have faced some form of adversity. The two main players who stand out from the group would be Byron Leftwich and David Carr. These two guys have not only played many games, and learned to handle failure; they have also had some success in their careers. If any of the before mentioned guys are willing to take on that type of mentoring role for the Cincinnati Bengals, it could potentially pay dividends.