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Cincinnati Bengals: Has Andy Dalton Taken the “Next Step”

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Oct 26, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. Bengals defeated the Ravens 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

After three games, the Cincinnati Bengals are now an impressive 3-0. Wait, that is not all that different from what we saw last season, right? The difference, the feel and buzz about this team is on another level. The Bengals rank in the top 5 on virtually every Power Ranking out there, and part of it is due to the play of 5th year quarterback Andy Dalton.

On the season, his impressive line includes eight touchdowns, a completion percentage of 66.3%, 866 yards and just one interception. But what happened between the end of last season and the beginning of this season? Is it the rare circumstance that maybe Dalton has finally gotten it together? Doubtful.

What everyone is seeing is more likely than not a direct result of the team around Dalton. In week one Tyler Eifert was the hero, Giovani Bernard in week two and most recently, A.J. Green.

The point is that the Cincinnati Bengals have drafted so well in recent years, that the weapons surrounding Dalton have become too much for teams to account for on a play by play basis. They create matchup problems for opponents, and when you mix that with the creative, up beat tempo; it’s problematic for defenses. The Bengals have also drafted players that are considered “Swiss Army Knives” by Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson.

There is a good chance that Dalton has gotten better. That can been seen with his pre-snap reads and play changes; but, until the Bengals play another primetime game, or preform well in the playoffs, Andy Dalton is still the biggest question mark of this Bengals team.

Is that question becoming a more manageable factor? Absolutely, but lets see how he preforms when the sun goes down, and maybe a couple of weapons go down as well. We might see Dalton’s true colors then, but he might surprise us as well. We will just have to wait and see.

Next: Three Weeks, Three Difference Makers

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