First I want to make it clear I have been a big fan of Andy Dalton, and think he gets trashed too easily by the national media. Yes he is not a physical freak like Cam Newton, and he has not become the field general that Drew Brees, Aaron Rogers, or Tom Brady are, but I've always believed he could.
Aaron Rogers sat his first few seasons, so who know what he would have looked like if he had played as a rookie?
Drew Brees was not what he is now his first few seasons. Remember San Diego let him go for nothing because he had been okay, and was injured.
Yes Tom Brady was a rock star from the beginning, but the Patriots won more times than not because of their defense in the early Brady years, which gave Brady the chance to grow into the player he is today.
I still think that Dalton can grow into a franchise quarterback, but he has to cut down on the mistakes. The first interception today was bad, but it came with a lot of pressure right in his face. He needs an offensive line that can give him a pocket to play in. The second was all on him, he has to see that the linebacker is between him and his tightend. In addition, when your team is facing a fourth and three, do not go for the home run throw. Get the first down, hit one of your tightends or running backs.
Dalton is now going to be forced to hear the naysayers for a whole year, till he gets the Bengals back to the playoffs, and then wins one. I hope he uses this offseason to improve his play. He needs to make better decisions, he needs to develop that sure fire play (like Brady did with Walker), and he needs to get in better sync with all his weapons. I really think he needs to take a page from Payton Manning, and lock himself in the film room, and study game film day and night.
He may not be a physical freak, but he does have the physical tools to be a top quarterback. But to do that he has to get the mental part of the game square. He has to know his pocket, he has to know his receivers, and he has to get control of his throws.
I do really think Dalton can do it, but he has to play better than he did today.