Andy Dalton has already done as much as Carson Palmer ever did in just two years with the Bengals. Although the stats may not be the same, Andy has been a better winner, as well as a better leader, and a smarter player who makes less mistakes. He does all this with less weapons.
A.J. Green has been just as good, if not better, than both Chad Johnson AND T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Unlike Chad, A.J. isn’t egotistical. He lead all WRs in Pro Bowl voting this past season.
The defense has vastly improved from a few years ago. Today, we have stars such as LB Vontaze Burfict, DEs Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap, and DT Geno Atkins that provide a tremendous pass rush and a great run defense.
The point is, seven years can make a lot of difference. 2005 was a special year for Cincinnati, because the Bengals went 11-5, won the AFC North, and made their first playoff appearance since 1990. Things seemed so great, then trouble happened. Carson Palmer got hurt twice and quit and Chad Johnson went mainstream. After 2005, we didn’t make the playoffs until 2009, going 10-6 and winning the division again. That was the last division title. 2010 saw a 4-12 season, and the last of Palmer and Johnson.
That resulted in the team drafting Georgia WR A.J. Green and TCU QB Andy Dalton to replace Johnson and Palmer, and boy has it worked.
In their 2011 rookie year, Dalton and Green lead the Bengals to a 9-7 regular season and a playoff appearance.
Then they did it again in 2012, making it the first time in 30 years that the Bengals made back-to-back playoff seasons.