The Cincinnati Bengals are deploying quarterback Andy Dalton again this season and it seems he ranks low among the leagues starting quarterbacks.
The Cincinnati Bengals have elected to deploy veteran quarterback Andy Dalton in the 2018 season without any competition behind him. Looking at his backups, the Bengals don’t have anyone in the waiting to be their future starter. Cincinnati is putting all their cards into one basket and hoping it pans out.
Cincinnati missed out on an opportunity to receive a second-round pick for former backup A.J. McCarron in a trade with the Cleveland Browns last season. The Browns messed up the paperwork, and the deal never got done resulting in the Bengals having to let McCarron walk in free agency for nothing in return.
Once again, Bengals fans will watch head coach Marvin Lewis lead their team with his quarterback that has proven dependent on the players around him instead of making those around him better. Dalton is an average quarterback in the league but ranked 26th on this Quarterback Rankings article. While I may not agree with some of the quarterbacks that they have ahead of Dalton, I do think that he should land in the high teens.
The last two seasons have proven how dependent Dalton is on the talent around him. Last season he started 16 games and only threw for 3,320 yards and 25 touchdowns. Many will complain about his offensive line as it was terrible, but the season before when Dalton still had Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler blocking for him, he threw for more yards with 4,206, but only 18 touchdowns.
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There are plenty of quarterbacks that make offenses better when playing behind weak offensive lines. Russel Wilson does it every season with one of the worst offensive lines in the league in Seattle. DeShaun Watson did it last season before going down with an injury behind a terrible line. In fact, Watson was looking to be the MVP at one point. We can blame some of the poor performances on the offensive line, and they should get their amount of blame, but Dalton fails to step up when things aren’t going perfectly.
We can also argue about the fact that tight end Tyler Eifert has been injured most of the past two seasons and defenses are slanting towards A.J. Green’s side of the field consistently. Without much-proven potential behind Green in the Cincinnati receiving core, you could make that argument. Although, once again, Russel Wilson makes it work with a receiving core that many couldn’t name the top two receivers each season. Outside of Hopkins, who does DeShaun Watson have?
When making these arguments, fans fail to realize that they are emphasizing the fact that Dalton needs excellent talent around him to have any success. He’s not the kind of quarterback that is going to put the team on his back and carry them to victory. There’s too much in the Bengals offense that has to go well for him to have success.
The difference between Dalton and McCarron was not anything significant. Especially when you look at the contract numbers. McCarron could have just as much success in this offense as Dalton has the past two seasons. In fact, many Bengals fans wanted McCarron to start over Dalton. I think that Dalton is the better quarterback at this point in their respected careers, however, paying more than $10 million more isn’t worth that small difference of talent.
Cincinnati’s offense has plenty of question marks going into 2018 ranging from whether some of the biggest playmakers in the offense can stay healthy to if offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s offense will work. With that being said, I think that Dalton should have been a bit higher on the list but wouldn’t put him above the middle of the pack.