After much anticipation the NFL season is about ready to kickoff with #14 under center for the Bengals. A new era for better or worse is ready to begin in Cincinnati, and many fans are already drinking the kool-aid or have already stashed their Bengals gear away for next year. With this being the 1st time since the 2002-03 season where a player named “Palmer” hasn’t been on the Bengals game-day roster, this fact has made many fans to do the latter.
This year it’s all about Dalton’s gang. A.J. Green, Andy Dalton, Clint Boling and OC Gruden are all rookies starting their NFL careers year. As many have noted, this is the first season opener since 1969 that the Bengals are starting a Rookie QB. The Bengals made it clear since August 8th that Dalton is the #1 QB on the Bengals depth chart.
Bengals’ Head Coach Marvin Lewis stated when drafted him one of their biggest draws to Dalton is the potential he has to start right away.
"I feel really confident in that. That’s what really drew him to us. We felt he was mature enough and ready to handle it. He’s a natural leader, and his [passing] accuracy and anticipation were the best of any quarterback we saw. There were [four] guys chosen ahead of him, and they’re all great players, but we think Andy might be the most ready to start right away. We went through quite a process with all these guys, and we feel great about him."
This weekend Dalton will get his shot to prove that he is the most ready to start QB in the draft class as the head into Cleveland.
There isn’t another young QB in the league with a bigger chip on shoulder then Andy Dalton. There hasn’t been a time in his life where he hasn’t been the “underdog”. He was the force at QB that moved TCU up the polls to be a top team in the NCAA. He was constantly critiqued in the draft for not having arm strength or being too short. He was hit with the stigma that QB’s not drafted in the 1st round are doomed to fail. Then when he arrives at his new NFL team, every time he opens the news paper, or turns on ESPN he’s told how horrible his team is. I reiterate there isn’t another young QB that has a bigger chip on his shoulder.
Dalton has some shoes to fill as he’s replacing former #1 overall draft pick, pro bowl QB, and team captain Carson Palmer. Dalton has had 9’s shadow hanging over him ever since he was drafted by the Bengals. It seems nearly every time anyone in the media talks to Dalton 9 gets mentioned in the interview. (See today’s PFT) He isn’t just playing Palmer’s old position, he’s also taking over his leadership role.
"I’m just trying to come in and take charge and show everybody I’ve got confidence, and that I can be a good leader out there. I feel really good. With the new offense, everybody is learning, and I feel like I’ve got a really good grasp, as much as the other guys. I’m just trying to help everybody out."
Luckily for the young QB the mentality for installing the new offense this season is to keep it simple. Coordinator Jay Gruden see’s the offense through the eyes of a QB and tries to make things easy to pick up for his signal callers.
"“We are much more simple this year in what we’re doing with the quarterback, scheme- wise,” says HC Marvin Lewis. “From week to week, we are not re-inventing the wheel against every new defense we face. Jay sees the offense through the Quarterback’s eyes, and it’s more a case of building from week to week rather than starting over. The Quarterback has a lot of leeway in the things he can call.”"
Dalton has the Bengals’ coaching staff, front office and locker room all in his corner. With all the members in Dalton’s Gang, the stage is set for the young gunslinger to succeed in the NFL.