DETROIT - AUGUST 12: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals drops back to pass during the second quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on August 12, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Dalton's first pass as a professional quarterback was intended to go to his No. 1 wide receiver, rookie A.J. Green. It didn't go to Green, it went to the defense. It was sad to see Dalton's first career pass intercepted but it's not that big of a deal. I mean Brett Favre's first NFL pass was in 1991 when he played for the Atlanta Falcons and it was a pick-six. So, yeah. Not that big of a deal.
What is a bigger deal was the offense's inability to get into the end zone. If that becomes a trend this season, it doesn't matter how good the defense is, the Bengals won't be able to win many games if they can't score. And just to clarify, by many games, I mean zero games.
Dalton isn't used to not scoring points. In fact, he's not used to losing. During his career at TCU, he became one of the winningest quarterbacks in college football history. He does know, though, that there are going to be some growing pains before his transition from college to professional quarterback is complete and that what happened Friday night is what the preseason is for.
"I mean, it definitely isn't the kind of day I wanted to have. We didn't score on offense. That kind of leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I'm not used to that. I want to come in and score points every time I have the ball. There's definitely room for improvement, but I guess that's what the preseason's for -- come in and see where you are and we'll fix those mistakes when we watch the film and move on from there."
After Dalton settled down, he did get into a grove and completed some passes. He looked better than the other quarterbacks on the roster, including Bruce Gradkowski.
Now that the first game, and first loss, is under his belt, Dalton can come into Saturday night's game against the Jets a little less nervous and hopefully a little more confident that he can lead this offense. I still have confidence that he can do well as the Bengals starting quarterback. I'm just realizing now, though, that it's probably going to take a little longer than I had hoped for him to get to that point.
Hopefully that sharp winning attitude doesn't get dulled over the next few weeks.