Bengals remain confident with Dalton, but promote competition

Andy Lyons

The Cincinnati Bengals continue to show a unified front about their future at quarterback, but allow that Dalton may see some competition if they use a draft pick on a quarterback.

The general idea is this: If the Cincinnati Bengals fail to win a playoff win in 2014 (and that includes the obvious requirement to qualify for the postseason in the first place), Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and quarterback Andy Dalton should walk. With extensions in the beginning phase for both coach and quarterback, one shouldn't expect it.

In fact, don't expect the Bengals to select a quarterback early in the NFL draft, a point that Bengals offensive coordinator He Jackson reiterated on Saturday, per Bengals.com.

Jackson says they're not looking to draft a quarterback early ("We've got a starting quarterback"), but he says one in the later rounds could surface and believes there are guys taken at that point that are going to have good careers.

Cincinnati's newest offensive coordinator continues to sing praises for Dalton.

"I like what Andy brings to the table for us. Andy can do it all," Jackson said. "Andy can do it all. I haven’t seen anything he can't do. He ran the ball last year. He obviously threw it all over the yard. He ran our team."

Of course the team has to create an atmosphere conducive for Dalton's continued development.

"The number one thing I can do is create a picture and environment where every day he feels he can play free," said Jackson via Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Where he is playing and reacting and using his talents and his mental ability. We’re talking about a group that was 10th in offense, not 30th. Andy played well and led a team that scored 430 points. My goal is to see how we can score 530 points. We’re trying to get better at everything we do. It’s not just scoring. Andy is going to be fine. Everyone wants to talk about Andy but I am very comfortable and confident of who he is.

The question isn't about statistical glory in the regular season, rather piss-poor production in games that matter the most. Whether it's intra-divisional contests in which the Bengals defense bailed out the offense, or the overwhelming lack of production in the postseason, Dalton's line of criticism doesn't figure to end anytime soon. HINT: Want to improve? Statistically speaking, stop throwing so much to A.J. Green.

That being said, based on Jackson's comments, it appears that if the value is there, Cincinnati will grab a quarterback at some point and may... may... force Dalton into a few competitive moments.

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