Mark Craig's NFL Insider: Bengals happy with QB

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 12, 2013 - 5:22 PM
hide

Andy Dalton has completed 114 of 175 passes (65 percent) for 1,215 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions but, more important, has the Bengals at 3-2 and tied for the AFC North lead.

Photo: File photo by David Kohl • Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

On Jan. 23, 2011, Cincinnati joined a number of other NFL cities in need of a franchise quarterback when Carson Palmer requested a trade following a 4-12 season.

The Bengals had the fourth overall pick and an unorthodox plan to boost its passing attack. They would build in reverse order, taking the receiver, A.J. Green, first and the quarterback, Andy Dalton, second.

“I was a big Andy Dalton fan since the start of our evaluation process,” Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said this week.

Cincinnati, obviously, hit a home run with Green. But the tail end of the plan required waiting through another 31 selections until the Bengals were back on the clock with the third pick of the second round.

Cam Newton already had gone No. 1 overall to Carolina. Jake Locker went next at No. 8 to Tennessee. Jacksonville, knowing the Vikings also needed a quarterback, traded from No. 16 to No. 10 and took Blaine Gabbert. After Houston took defensive end J.J. Watt, the Vikings took Christian Ponder 12th overall.

“I was holding my breath, hoping [Dalton’s] name would be written on our ticket and taken to the podium,” Gruden said. “To me, he was the most accurate and poised quarterback available. Anticipation and accuracy are important in any offense, and particularly in this one.”

Gruden and the Bengals aren’t bragging. And critics would argue they aren’t in position to brag too much since the 49ers took Colin Kaepernick one spot after Dalton.

But for what the Bengals were looking for, they believe they targeted the right quarterback for several years to come. At 6-2, 215 pounds, the so-called “holes” in Dalton’s résumé were a lack of size and questionable arm strength.

Gruden wasn’t among those doing the questioning. Gruden saw a quarterback holding every major passing record at Texas Christian, including 42 victories, one of which was a Rose Bowl.

“I could tell he was a great leader and a winner,” Gruden said. “We studied him [on film], and every time I had a doubt, he erased the doubt. If he threw an interception, the next drive he’d come back and lead them to a touchdown. If he got sacked or made a poor decision, he backed it up with something special.”

For whatever reason, Dalton still hasn’t won over fans in southwest Ohio. Two weeks ago, when the offense was pitiful in a 17-6 loss at Cleveland, critics were calling for the ouster of Dalton and Gruden.

Last week, Dalton completed 74.1 percent of 27 passes in a victory over unbeaten New England. The Bengals are 3-2 and tied atop the AFC North. All is well … for now.

Since being drafted, Dalton is 22-15, which is eight victories better than any of the other top six QBs selected in 2011. The Bengals were 17-20 in their previous 37 games without Dalton.

In 2011, Dalton was the first rookie in NFL history to throw for 3,000 yards, 20 touchdowns and win at least eight games. In 2012, he joined Dan Marino and Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks to throw for 20 or more touchdowns in their first two seasons.

Yes, he’s 0-2 in two playoff games and didn’t play well. But the Bengals still believe they filled a big hole with a quarterback some considered too small.

“Some of the best current and past quarterbacks aren’t 6-4,” Gruden said. “[Drew] Brees is doing pretty well, [Joe] Montana did pretty well. [Michael] Vick has done pretty well. We thought, and now we know, that Andy is plenty big enough and strong enough.”

Northern Intelligence

Eli Manning’s first-quarter pick-six bailed Bears coach Marc Trestman out of an early gamble that would have been a big deal had the Bears not beaten the Giants 27-21 on Thursday.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - LP: B. Workman 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3
Toronto - LP: A. Sanchez 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 3
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 2
Los Angeles - WP: P. Rodriguez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: N. Ramirez 4
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Deduno 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Freeman 3
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 6 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 7
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
San Diego - WP: R. Erlin 7
Seattle - WP: T. Wilhelmsen 3 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: K. Jepsen 1
Tampa Bay 14 FINAL
Atlanta 56
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Adrian Peterson ever play for the Vikings again?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close