Then April rolled around and it was time for the NFL draft. With their second round selection the Bengals took a step forward to the future and helped formulate an answer for the Palmer saga by drafting quarterback Andy Dalton out of TCU. We know the rest. Palmer "retired." Dalton stepped into the quarterback position and then Palmer was traded to the Oakland Raiders. Things seem to be working out just fine for Dalton and the Bengals.
With the lockout still going on Dalton had very little time to prepare for the regular season with coaches. He did hold workouts with his teammates which looks to have helped up to this point of the season. In August he was finally able to meet and practice with coaches after the lockout was finally lifted. He only had a few weeks to prepare for the season. And that work has paid off.
In college Dalton was known for his work ethic. He made it a habit of watching film on the Horned Frogs days off or breaking down the road game that he had just completed. All of his hard work and determination paid off in college as he led the Horned Frogs to 42-7 record during his four years as a starter. And that has carried over with him to the Bengals.
"My time is devoted to football and there's a lot that goes on, and it's not just while I'm here," Dalton said, speaking of the Bengals' practice facility. "I've got a laptop at home that I watch film on, and it's kind of fun because I get my wife watching it, too, and I try to teach her what's going on. It's definitely been a lot of fun and I'm definitely enjoying it."
That's what you want to here from your quarterback. Someone who is devoted to the team and sport. Dalton's dedication is absolutely astonishing. The fact that he is constantly preparing himself for opponents is something rare to see in a rookie.
When the Bengals drafted him no one knew what to expect. Was he going to start? Was he ready for the NFL? Would he even last in the NFL?
Well, Dalton has answered those questions already here within the first nine weeks of the season. After ten weeks Dalton has led the Bengals to a 6-3 record while throwing for 14 touchdowns and 1,866 yards. Not bad for a rookie who only had maybe four weeks to prepare for the season.
His work ethic and determination were only some of the factors and characteristics that had Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden constantly returning to TCU to watch Dalton practice and work him out.
Dalton is now providing stability at a position that had been inconsistent for the previous four years. With his smart, accurate, and timely passes he has been able to find success at the next level. Playing college football compared to professional football is completely different. As a player you have to step up your game and be ready for what's ahead because if you don't succeed then you won't make it as a player and Dalton has quieted any critics out there with his hard work that has paid off for himself as well as the Bengals this season. He hasn't missed a beat since leaving TCU and hopefully his success will continue for many years.