Week in Review: Can Andy Dalton become an Elite Quarterback?

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Nov 18, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) runs for a first down against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

With all the talk swirling around Joe Flacco possibly reaching into that upper echelon of quarterbacks, the question now for Bengals fans is, do the Bengals have an elite quarterback, or at least someone who can become elite?  The answer obviously lies in the future, but there is no reason not to think so.  Here’s why:

Dalton is an intelligent quarterback, an accurate passer, and has a very quick release.  His pocket presence has gotten better in the past two years, and he rarely makes the same mistake twice.  All of these things factored together are the building blocks to becoming an elite quarterback.

So, let’s look at the numbers. Dalton this year threw for 3669 yards, 27 TDs, 16 INT’s, and was a 62.3% passer with an 87.4 rating.  Where does this stack against say Eli Manning, whom is considered an elite quarterback? Eli Manning this year threw for 3948 yards, 26 TDs, 17 INT’s and was a 59.9% passer with an 87.2 rating.  The most alarming stat that sticks out is Dalton was sacked 46 times last season to Manning’s 19.  Don’t get me wrong, the eyeball test will say that at least 15 of Dalton’s sacks were self inflicted, meaning holding onto the ball too long, or scrambling around trying to find someone open.  Take away those 15, and we are left with 31 sacks.  31 times Dalton was hurried to the point he couldn’t throw the ball, and took a sack.  Even with that,Dalton’s numbers, as a second year quarterback, stack up against some of the elite quarterbacks in this league.