I have been a Dalton supporter since day 1, not because I think he is an elite QB, but because he is good enough and most likely the best we will be able to get without major cost to other areas (draft picks, FA dollars, etc). That said, you can sometimes get lucky with a later round pick…. Brady, Wilson, Foles, etc. so take a flyer on a later draft pick, but don’t create a QB controversy just yet.
Dalton looked bad yesterday, he failed to pick this team up, put it on his back and carry it to victory. Watching the game, that was 1 of 2 ways the Bengals could have won. Dalton needed to elude the rush, scramble in the pocket and fire down field with pin point accuracy to AJ Green, Marvin Jones, etc. Dalton is not that guy, but I ask the question, does he need to be? The other way I think they would have won, was play mistake free ball. No fumbles and no Interceptions, we tend to think Dalton is a game manager, but he really doesn’t play that way.
I think for Dalton to succeed, he must keep his cool, play smart, and not make mistakes. He needs to work through his progressions faster, get rid of the ball quicker, and not take risks. He tries to be a gun slinger type, and I think he feels pressure to be that guy. How much did we hear about him working on the long ball? I think it’s time to take that pressure off of him, and it’s time for him, coaches, and fans to accept him for who he is.
The Bengals are full of talent, we focus so much on QB, but it may actually be easier to upgrade other areas of the team. They have play makers on offense that just need someone to get them the ball to move the chains or to give them a shot at the making tacklers miss. They need to improve run blocking and/or upgrade the running attack. Maybe it’s a new C, maybe a new LT or LG. Maybe it’s a new bruising back to compliment Bernard. Can we consistently run the ball 4-5 yards a pop even with 8 in the box. What do they need to do on Defense to start shutting teams out? They need to upgrade the secondary. A Safety like Eric Weddle, someone who can come up and stop the run, cover opposing TEs, or provide the double coverage that makes teams stay away from that side of the field. The defense also relies on CBs who can be left alone to cover their guy, a shut down CB who can take the other teams Pro Bowl WR out of the game.
In the playoffs, our defense has failed to stop the run, failed to generate a significant pass rush, and failed to get off the field on 3rd down. AJ Green is taken out of the game all too often, and our running game gets stopped short on early downs in key drives. The OL, as good as they are supposed to be, they fail to block the pass rushers that pressure Dalton in big games. Dalton, feeling the pressure, or whatever, makes some costly mistakes. It’s a bunch of little things, a play here, a play there, but it adds up. A game of inches right? Overall, I think it’s easier to fix those little things than it is to rely on luck of finding that Franchise QB that can to pick this team up, put it on his back and carry it to victory.