If Andy Dalton Isn't Ready, Should Jordan Palmer Start at QB?

Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden continues to bang the drum for rookie Andy Dalton to start. With the caveat that head coach Marvin Lewis will have the final say, Gruden says that were it up to him, the preseason depth chart at QB would be set.

"I think we'll see when it opens up if we get with another veteran or if it's the three we have," Gruden said. "... If I had to say right now - but Coach Lewis will have more say than I will - we have to get Andy ready. If he can't handle it, we have to get Jordan ready. If Jordan can't handle it, then we have to get Dan ready."

There's nothing new about Gruden's enthusiasm for Dalton, but what caught my attention was the idea that if The Great Red Hope isn't ready, plan B is Jordan Palmer.

Despite not being under contract, the junior Palmer has been deeply involved in getting players together for offseason workouts during the lockout, earning both praise and scorn. However, everything emanating from PBS has either pointed toward Dalton or to the Bengals signing a veteran free agent Like Bruce Gradkowski -- or both. Mentions of Jordan Palmer have not been common, to say the least.

And maybe this was just a throwaway line by Gruden. But for the sake of argument, let's assume that it isn't. Further, let's also assume that Andy Dalton isn't judged ready to line up behind center, and the opening day honors fall to Jordan Palmer. I wonder what the reaction would be.

In a way, Jordan Palmer claiming the starter's job his older brother just walked away from could be seen as a victory for clan Palmer. On the other hand, if the Bengals braintrust believes he offers the team the best chance to win -- and he is the only veteran QB with knowledge of the new playbook -- then by all rights it ought to be his job to lose. Which in turn makes me also wonder how Gruden's heavy breathing over Andy has played in the Jordan Palmer household, and exactly if and how that would come out in camp, assuming the Bengals give him a new deal.

So, what does everyone think? Yay or nay to l'il Palmer if Andy Dalton isn't ready?

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