Across the board, it was a great 30-minute interview. The questions were strong, asking questions that are permeating around the quarterback from arm strength, leadership, to what it takes to become an elite quarterback. Dalton, who clearly sounds ready to take that next step that everyone is hoping to see this year, gave honest and very direct answers. We transcribe some of the interview and at the bottom of the post is the embedded player of the entire interview.
Goal for Andy Dalton during training camp.
"Establish the leadership. Let every body know what the standard is and we're not going to settle for anything less. That's a big thing coming into my third year now. It's not a whole lot of learning the offense, not a whole lot of learn what the defense is going to be doing against us or anything like that. It's setting the standard of what to expect and what I expect of the other guys. That's the biggest thing going into this year. It's not necessarily all the X's and O's. I mean that's a apart of it, but to show every body what's expected of us.
"We've had two years where we've done some good things in the regular season and we've had two playoff losses where we haven't played well. That starts with me, that starts with the leaders of the team..."
You sound pissed off...
"The regular season is one thing, but once you get to the playoffs that's really when you've got to make the most of your opportunity. Unfortunately for us, we haven't done that. I think going into this year, there's a lot of expectations on us and a lot that we expect of ourselves. I think that's going to be good for us going into this year. We've got everyone back from last year's team. There's a lot expected of us and a lot that we expect on ourselves. There's going to be a lot of hard work really put in during training camp to fulfill those expectations."
What do you say to the people that say you're not a leader? And are you an effective leader.
"I definitely think so. That comes with playing the quarterback position. You're automatically put into a leadership role. For me, I've started to established myself as the leader on this team, as the guy that's running this offense. Your first year, you kind of feel things out. It's all new to you. You're around new guys, you've got guys that are somewhere 18 years older than you and you've got to be a leader. You feel your way around, you get help but now it's time that I have some credibility. I've gone out, done some things, I've won a lot games for us. Now it's letting everybody know that I'm going to be putting in all of the work, all the time necessary for us to be as successful that I can, and for this team to be, and let everybody see that. Like I was saying, setting the standard of what's expected us."
Is this your make-or-break year?
I think the biggest thing is, when I came in my rookie with my rookie class, if you turned on ESPN and turned on some of these channels and hear what people were saying, they didn't expect us to win one game. Someone picked us to lose every game. We were able to make the playoffs that year. We did enough to get us there. We surprised a lot of people. Last year, we improved on our regular season record, we won one more game than we did the year before, and made it back to the playoffs. But then it comes down to, we didn't play well in the playoff game. Those two years. I'm not necessarily saying that because I've done well that it's a make-or-break year. For me, I expect to get the playoffs and I expect to win once we get there. That's something I expect of myself. Regardless of what everybody is saying. If they're saying that it's a make-or-break year, I expect to have a good year, I expect to get to the playoffs and I expect to win games once I get to the playoffs. That's the expectations of me and that's the expectations of this team.
Are you an elite quarterback and can you win big games?
"That's exactly what I'm striving to be. That's what all of the work I've put in from my whole career, from college, for what I've done so far, it's get to the elite level. I'm trying to do everything I can to put our team in position to get to the playoffs and then win games in the playoffs. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to achieve that yet, but that's what I'm going for. I'm excited about this year. I'm ready to get this year rolling because there are some doubters, but all I can do with my performance, with the way I play, is to prove them wrong."
You can hear the rest of the 30-minute interview here.