Andy Dalton is quickly coming of age, as the Bengals signal-caller. Should he keep getting the blame, when things go wrong?
When it comes to quarterbacks, Andy Dalton is still being given the runaround treatment. After making the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2016, he still gets no love from some gridiron pundits. To most Bengals fans, Dalton can do no wrong. To those who sit in front of cameras and make their living crunching numbers, Dalton’s sudden rise to fame came as a shock. Let’s rephrase that. The Bengals signal-caller deserves the spot, but the analysts are having a hard time acknowledging him.
For some strange reason, Dalton is looked upon as the comedy relief of quarterbacks. No matter what he does, media doubters are ready to cast him into the lake of failure. Mr. Dalton was ripped and ridiculed for years, after the Bengals made him the starter in 2011. Despite a string of playoff appearances, the Bengals remain winless under his watch. The blame seems to fall squarely on his shoulders.
“Our quarterback continues to blossom with his own leadership and his personality. Kenny provides a new space for him to continue to do that.”
Let’s not take the Speedy Gonzales approach to blame shifting. The Bengals lost their 2014 Wild Card appearance to the Indianapolis Colts. During that game, Dalton was without a couple of key weapons that helped the Bengals’ march to Lucas Oil Stadium. His go-to-guy was standing on the sidelines.
A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham, and Marvin Jones were inactive for the game. Several big catches were missed by players who were expected to fill the spots. Does anyone remember that Jones was out with an “ankle” injury? There’s also the overlooked detail of Vontaze Burfict not playing. Yes, that’s right. The emotional leader of the defense was reduced to cheering from afar.
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But it’s all Andy’s fault. Remember that. Can O-coordinator Ken Zampese step in as a defense lawyer?
"“Our quarterback continues to blossom with his own leadership and his personality. Kenny provides a new space for him to continue to do that.”"
Dalton was superb, last season. He was able to post a career high in completion percentage (66.1) and an astounding low in interceptions (7). Dalton looked like the Real Superman, before his Week 14 encounter with Kryptonite. If not for that bizarre chain of events, the Bengals would have probably moved further in the postseason. A.J. McCarron filled in nicely. But, he’s not Dalton.
Once again, it’s all on the man named Dalton.
Analysts have said he’s the main reason the Bengals will never get to the Super Bowl. But, he can’t be blamed for the January 9 meltdown. Bad weather, predictable play calling, and sketchy officiating were all suspects. Despite overwhelming evidence, the Red Rifle still pops up as the culprit.
The narrative will remain the same, until the Ginger can turn things around and bring a playoff victory to the shores of Paul Brown Stadium. The pressure is on. With the loss of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, the Bengals are forced to fill the slot position. Merely another reason to throw shade on the Rifle.
Dalton keeps getting the blame. If he repeats last years performance, any reference to the past verdict should be tossed out of court.