CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 16: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates after a touchdown during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Paul Brown Stadium on October 16, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 27-17. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
We're taking a brief look at every position this weekend, breaking down the roster at this point in the offseason.
Position Report: Quarterback
Roster (3): Andy Dalton, Bruce Gradkowski, Zac Robinson
Let's face facts. If you don't know why Andy Dalton is the starting quarterback by now, you're either someone that we purchased through eBay, currently sitting in the hospital with your iPad hours after being born (gonna throw down with the e-Trade baby, are ya ?), or you're deep within a drug-induced haze that began during the summer of 1972.
Setting franchise rookie records. A Pro Bowl appearance. Leading a four-win squad from 2010 to nine wins and a playoff berth in 2011. Was he perfect? Far from it. A.J. Green often played Dalton's savior, hauling down ridiculously athletic receptions against double teams anytime Dalton chucked it in his general direction. Despite everything, Dalton implemented Jay Gruden's offensive playbook during his first NFL season without the benefit of an offseason. What really shun through was his leadership virtues, along with his poise, fearlessness and adaptability.
Not bad, kid. Not bad at all.
Gradkowski wasn't so bad himself. Guiding the rookie quarterback, providing valuable information during the game, Gradkowski even helped the Bengals win on the field. When Dalton suffered a forearm contusion during the season-opener against the Cleveland Browns, Gradkowski came in to throw the wide-open (we mean, really wide open) touchdown pass to Green that eventually won the game.
Draft Projection: Possible that Cincinnati picks a late-round quarterback to compete for that third-string spot, but we doubt it. Since the Collective Bargaining Agreement eliminated the emergency quarterback, there's no need. Even so whomever wins that third spot, projecting a third-string quarterback battle during training camp, will likely head to the practice squad, called up if something happens to Andy Dalton, backing up the backup Bruce Gradkowski.