The Bengals have been consistent about one thing. They like quarterback Andy Dalton. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden once called Dalton the "most NFL ready quarterback in this draft." Even Marvin Lewis said he's capable of starting the first week of the regular season against the Cleveland Browns on September 11, 2011 -- provided that the season actually starts on September 11 and that the opening game of the season is against the Cleveland Browns.
"I feel really confident in that. I think that’s what really drew him to us. We felt he was mature enough and ready to handle it. We went through quite a process with these guys and felt great about him."
Mike Brown, the owner that's acting like he's trying to move on from a girlfriend that left him, is at least coming around to Dalton saying that "he can be productive" in Cincinnati. We're not sure if Brown had a Pearl Jam rock ballard jamming in the background (I totally did while writing this).
During his interview with ESPN 101 in St. Louis (did you know that Lewis interviewed with ESPN 101 in St. Louis?), Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis reiterated the belief that Dalton could start the first game of the season if he's ready.
"Well that’s something we are going to have to see what happens and how it plays out, but there’s no question when we selected Andy Dalton we selected him with that in mind that he’d possibly be our opening day starting quarterback."
Lewis was also pleased that Dalton was able to meet his teammates recently and work out with them.
"Well that’ll give a good start for our guys. It’ll give Andy a good introduction and a chance to meet his teammates and I think that’s the biggest thing is really developing some camaraderie, some working together, and so fourth and kind of a commitment to the guys that way. I think if anything it helps with that."