Defining Bengals’ Andy Dalton
Dec 14, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) runs onto the field prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
The point is that the NFL is shifting, though perhaps not in the way many expect. Yes, this is a pass-driven league, but the reality is that the NCAA has not been producing NFL pocket quarterbacks for a few years now, nor does that trend look to be changing any time soon. Further, as legacy signal callers of the past ten years begin to regress, only a handful of talented and capable quarterbacks will remain, regardless of protective rule changes. Former players and analysts whose legitimacy lay within an the NFL rife with high quarterback production understandably riddle ESPN’s commentary. It stands to reason they would expect such production to continue. Quiet simply, it may not.
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However, to this end there are no guarantees. Indeed, Peyton Manning, whom Dalton’s statistics eerily resemble, failed to even reach the playoffs in his first three seasons and lost in the first round of his fourth. Digression aside, the question of whom should replace Dalton remains… hypothetically at least. Terrelle Pryor? A.J. McCarron? Both seem unlikely at this point. Should Dalton make it to a winning season again this year, would it be wise for the Bengals to draft in the bottom half of the first for a new quarterback and expect an upgrade? Moreover, arguments that Cincinnati should start a new quarterback in order to “develop” him are ludicrous when you look at those the success of strategies in recent years.
No matter what headlines or strange debates surface between now and Week One, the story with Andy Dalton is pretty simple: unless the Bengals completely implode this year and it is from quarterback play, Dalton will likely be in stripes for a while.