With the 35th pick in the 2011 draft the Cincinnati Bengals select Andy Dalton out of TCU. With that announcement there was a wave of excitement spreading throughout Bengal Nation. With that pick, the Bengals addressed their greatest area of need, the quarterback position, since the Carson Palmer saga was still dragging on.
During an interview on the Nuno and Raheel Show, Dalton expressed his optimism and excitement about being a quarterback for the Bengals. Dalton has been taking things in stride and as they come. When the season starts there is speculation that Dalton will be thrusted into the starting role, that is unless Carson Palmer somehow remains in a Bengals uniform.
"I have to prepare myself the same way, whether I'm going to be the starter or whether I'm going to be a backup or whatever the situation is. I'm going to go in and work really hard..."
Now that is the kind of attitude that coaches, fans and team officials love to hear from players that their teams draft. Even with a lockout Dalton still plans on taking his preparation for the football season seriously in order to be ready for any role that Marvin Lewis and the Bengals believe he's ready for.
During the lockout players are not allowed to workout with coaches in order to prepare for the season, which hinders the development and experience that drafted players gain during training camp and preseason.
During the lockout players across the league have been meeting with each other in order to work on plays, develop a rhythm, or a routine with teammates. Usually one wouldn't witness rookies stepping up to the stage and workout with their future teammates.
But not Dalton. He isn't going to sit on his couch and watch SportsCenter, waiting for the lockout to be lifted. Instead in the upcoming weeks he is going to be working out with some of his teammates. Working out with teammates is only going to better prepare himself to take over the helm.
"It does make it tough for rookies this year. But we're trying to do the best with what we're capable of doing. I know in a couple weeks we're going to be getting together, all of the skills guys in California. We're going to be throwing and working out together to get everyone on the same page starting off."
The preparation that Dalton is committing himself to shows that he's determined to be ready to his fullest capacity once football activities resume, whenever that may be. Dalton is excited to have an electrifying target in A.J. Green and stated that he was looking forward to throwing passes to him for years to come.
For Bengals officials and coaches this has to be a sigh of relief to hear that Dalton isn't taking his role on the team, whether it's starting or backing up, lightly.
Unlike some players who don't want to be in Cincinnati (Carson Palmer cough cough), Dalton wants to be here and is excited for the chance to play for the Bengals.
"When I got the call from Marvin Lewis, I was excited and ready to get in and ready to get to work."
That is the kind of attitude everyone should be excited to hear from Dalton. Hopefully for Dalton his preparation and workouts with teammates in the offseason will better prepare him to take the reigns from Carson Palmer and lead the Bengals for several seasons to come.