When the Bengals used their fifth round pick to make quarterback A.J. McCarron the 164th player selected in this year’s draft, a I had one question: What about Andy?
Well those who rally for the Red Riffle have nothing to worry about, because I don’t think Andy Dalton is going anywhere. Sure, the Bengals now have three quarterbacks, all of whom might be in contention for the top job in another city. And yes, he has been anything but clutch in the playoffs. But despite that and the fact that Andy Dalton’s idea of what he deserves to be paid might differ from that of the Bengals, we can expect to see Dalton playing in the Queen City for at least a few more years.
The Bengals’ quarterbacks are all there for a reason. A.J. McCarron is there to learn; and, Jason Campbell is there to mentor. McCarron, despite his successes in college, is not ready to be a starter. He needs more training and arm strength in order to be a great quarterback, and he lacks the mentality and poise required to lead an NFL team to success. On top of that, new Cincinnati offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said, in an interview on the Bengals’ website, that he wants his team to play, “fast and furious.” For McCarron this will be quite a change from the slower paced Alabama system. That’s where Jason Campbell comes in. Picked up in mid March, the former Browns starter will lend the seasoned advice and guidance that only a ten year veteran can provide. The hope is that his locker room presence and big-game experience will not only rub off on McCarron, but Dalton as well. For the moment however, that is about all that Campbell will provide. His 1-8 record in 2013 doesn’t suggest he will present much competition for the top job. That leaves Andy Dalton in charge of one thing: winning.
In fact, Dalton doesn’t even have to win all the time. USA Today predicted that the AFC North would be in a dead heat this season. So with almost all of the 2013 Bengals, the team has a good chance of winning the division for a second consecutive year. Assuming Cincy wins their division, (or at least snags a wild card spot, which in the AFC is completely do-able,) the postseason is where Dalton needs to earn his stripes, and get some wins.
Dalton’s lackluster playoff performance is the biggest stain on a summatively solid three seasons, It is also the main reason behind the Bengals’ reluctance to give him the loaded contract he wants (and deserves). If he is once again sub-par in the playoffs, Cincinnati does not want to be in the same boat as Dallas or Chicago, stuck with an over paid yet consistently under performing QB.
Luckily for the Bengals, Andy Dalton is not the next Jay Cutler or Tony Romo. In fact, he is more similar to Colin Kaepernick than anyone else. Almost all of his numbers have steadily increased since 2011, and there’s no reason for them to start slipping in 2014. I think that eventually the Bengals will realize this and Dalton will get an extension similar to that of Kaepernick.
What I’m getting at here is that last season, the Red Riffle broke franchise quarterback records (4,293 passing yards, 33 TDs). This season, the Bengals will make him their franchise quarterback.
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