The Cincinnati Bengals are entering a make or break season for quarterback Andy Dalton. Dalton has been one of the more inconsistent quarterbacks in the NFL, and there is no doubt that he is on the hot seat entering the 2014 season. There is no reason for him to be as inconsistent as he has been with A.J. Green and the rest of the targets and weapon that he has had to work with.
Dalton was drafted with the 35th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, and was immediately given the starting job. Since then, he hasn’t had any kind of quarterback competition, and it is very possible that he has taken his starting job for granted. He simply hasn’t improved much at all since coming into the NFL, and it is costing his team a chance at making a run into the playoffs.
Last season with the Bengals, he threw for 4,293 yards to go along with 33 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. While the yard and touchdown numbers look just fine, his interceptions are simply coming much too often for a player that is entering his fourth NFL season as a starting quarterback. The Bengals cannot have that many turnovers coming from their quarterback and expect to win in a very tough AFC, and it all comes down to Dalton understanding that and working to get better.
Most of his issues come because he is trying to be too much of a playmaker. He needs to work on his patience and making sure that he is making the correct throw and not looking for the big play each and every down. It’s easy to get caught up in the big play mindset when there are wide receivers on the field like A.J. Green, but he’ll need to learn to pick and choose his big play opportunities.
It will be very intriguing to see how Dalton responds to have all of this pressure on his back. He knows that he needs to perform at a high level to keep the Bengals’ trust, and they are definitely expecting a playoff win at the least. They have provided him with a very talented all-around team, and asking for him to lead the team to one playoff win is not too much to ask.
Overall, this is going to be a very interesting season for the Bengals with Dalton leading the way. They brought in A.J. McCarron in the draft, and while he may not be a starting caliber quarterback, he can at least put pressure on Dalton off of the bench. If Dalton doesn’t live up to the expectations, he might very well be on his way out of Cincinnati, or at least could be competing for his job in training camp next year.