Every Bengals fan knows that Andy Dalton isn't Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers. They also know that, right now, the third-year signal caller isn't Drew Brees, Matt Ryan or even Eli Manning. However, he has played well enough for the Bengals to go to the playoffs two years in a row and he is about where Joe Flacco was at this point in his career. While some have given up on him for one reason or another, it's fair to say there's still hope Dalton can take the Bengals to the Super Bowl -- with the help of the offensive talent around him and a strong defense, of course.
NFL.com's Marc Sessler recently ranked all 32 starting quarterbacks and then some, grouping them into categories. Andy Dalton didn't fall quite where you would expect.
The first category is "The Three Kings," consisting of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers. Next comes "Franchise Gold," consisting of Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Eli Manning. After that comes "The Future: Part 1," consisting of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Then Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton were grouped in "The Future: Part: 2." "Solid Dudes" was next and consisted of Joe Flacco, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler. "Critical Seasons Ahead" was next and consisted of Phillip Rivers, Alex Smith and Ryan Tannehill.
There's hope for this group, because this tier is where Flacco lived a year ago. Still, Schaub and Dalton -- playoff quarterbacks both -- leave me wanting. Dameshek has a growing man-crush on the Glowing Ginger Man, but I don't see it. Schaub concerns me, too. In summary: two big bowls of vanilla ice cream. Down in St. Louis, the Rams have paid Bradford $50 million guaranteed, and it's still unclear if he's the right guy. All three quarterbacks are surrounded by talent. Time to make it happen.
It would make more sense for Dalton to be grouped in with the "Critical Seasons Ahead" crowd. Ha has, after all, done some good things over the last two years. He's done more than Tannehill, Newton, and Wilson as well.
After Dalton's crowd, comes the "Stopgaps," consisting of Michael Vick and Carson Palmer. Then the "Can I Trust You" group includes Josh Freeman, Christian Ponder, Jake Locker, Nick Foles, Kevin Kolb and Matt Hasselbeck. Finally comes "JAG," which consists of Matt Cassel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brandon Weeden, Blaine Gabbert and finally Mark Sanchez.