If there were any questions before, the 2017 campaign will have to answer them. Andy Dalton has to lead this team. On paper, the Bengals are stocked with weapons on offense. There’s no excuse for the same results that have been par for Cincinnati.
On the surface, Dalton had a decent 2016. The problems came from the same old monsters. In primetime games, Dalton was 1-2. The Week 15 game with Pittsburgh was flexed out of the night schedule. The help of the league still didn’t matter. The Rifle was 0-2 against the Steelers.
Getting to the Super Bowl requires an unshakeable determination and will to be better than your opponents. During the 2015 season, that was the attitude from Andy. Now, that same fire has to be rekindled and focused into a year that will be remembered.
From a stats standpoint, Dalton has been more than decent. Where he needs to find a constant rhythm is the deep pass. This year’s version of the Bengals’ offense will have speed. The deep threat is no longer limited to A.J. Green beating double coverage. Ross will be a primary target early (at least he should be). Suddenly, the emphasis is not on the quick release that has been his best asset. Dalton has to get the timing down for his bombs downfield. Taking his wide receivers for a steak dinner wouldn’t hurt. In fact, take the whole offense out to The Precinct or Jack Ruby’s. Drop a few stacks.
Leadership from The Ginger will be an important factor, this year. Hopefully, the mix of speedy youngsters and angry vets will get the Bengals to Super Bowl LII. But, we’ve been down that road before. Here’s to hoping.