I'd imagine a couple of you have noticed and most of you haven't, but I haven't been on CJ very much for the past couple months. I've been at Red Reporter more than I've been here for a while because it's been baseball season, but with the preseason starting up it's time to get back into football mode. I'll definitely go back to being a regular here, and I figured that there's no better way to come back than by making a quick little fanpost complete with a poll. (Side note: I am extremely tired while writing this, so please excuse any grammatical errors, awkward phrasing and general bad writing).
Quite simply, I am wondering who you guys consider to be the leader of this team. This doesn't just mean play on the field. I'm talking about the guy who not only leads by example while playing, but also in the locker room. With Bobbie Williams having been a major leader in many ways but now no longer being a member of the team, other guys are going to have to step up.
Listen, I understand if you say it's ridiculous to try to point to one guy as the leader of a team. I would agree that there need to be multiple players stepping into that position. This is more of a conversation starter than anything. Basically, if there was one guy who you would point to as the heart of the locker room (who is ideally good on the field as well), who would it be?
I'll go ahead and list the candidates along with a brief write-up about their credentials.
AJ Green: Some people would prefer a veteran as a leader, but AJ has all the characteristics of a veteran besides age. Wise beyond his years, if there was one player on the practice field that coaches could point to in order to show rookies how to be a professional football player it would probably be Green. He isn't extremely vocal but he doesn't need to be, as he leads almost entirely by example and has always been said to be a good locker room presence.
Andy Dalton: Dalton is, of course, a second-year player just like Green. He fits in the same mold as Green in that he serves the purpose of a veteran presence without being an actual veteran. The description of a player as a "winner" has become hackneyed at this point, but Dalton is truly deserving of that winner. He is truly a player who, despite having physical limitations like arm strength (hi, Chili Dog!) and height, seemingly has an intrinsic ability to do enough to win a game for his team. He seems to have absolutely every necessary characteristic and since he is the starting quarterback, people might lean towards him as the person who leads the team.
Andrew Whitworth: Whit is a good choice, as he has most characteristics you would look for. Vocal leadership? Check. Experience? Check. On-field production? Check. All-around badassery? Check. He didn't have his best year in 2011, but he is still consistently one of the better players in the league at a premium position. He has also been something of the team representative as far as the media goes, taking the pressure off of younger guys. For example, he satiated media members' desire for comments about former Bengals Chad
Johnson Ochocinco Johnson and Terrell Owens. This was a topic where it was necessary to tread carefully and avoid a Jets-style war of words, and Whit pulled it off masterfully. That's a valuable asset.
Domata Peko: This might be considered a reach, but I love defense and wanted to include at least one defensive player. Peko seemed like a logical choice. He's a very solid player and he is generally a good presence in the locker room. I don't know, I felt like it made sense to add him.
Leon Hall: He's really good, so... uh... yeah.
Other: I'm sure I'm missing at least one good candidate. Oh well.
Thanks for sticking with me through this (possibly horrendous) fanpost.