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If The Bengals Don't Sign A Veteran FA Quarterback: What Are The Pros And Cons Of Dalton Starting The First Game Of The Season

Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton is the future starting quarterback. Everyone, except for the ever optimistic and hopeful Mike Brown parading Carson Palmer's return if that happens, accepts it. Is he the starting quarterback when the 2011 season begins? We're not so certain. And really, no one should know something like that until at the very least practices kick off and training camp begins.

But what are the pros and cons of starting Andy Dalton in the first week of the regular season.

Pros Cons
  • If the team doesn't sign a veteran free agent, then the most experienced quarterback on the team is Jordan Palmer, who has a career 34.4 passer rating in 15 career passing attempts in the NFL.
  • Even if the team puts together a competition between Jordan and Dan LeFevour, there remains only 15 career pass attempts between them.
  • Bengals will protect Dalton as best they can, pounding the football to try and keep him out of obvious long third down situations where the pass rush is the strongest.
  • If he has a strong start early during his rookie season, it could establish confidence to push the Bengals competitively; whereas the team figures to rebuild, rather than win.
  • He needs snaps. Experience goes a long way in the NFL and taking snaps, even in an tOSU quarterback rotation where a younger QB takes snaps on a single drive in the second quarter will help him gain that experience.
  • Rookie quarterbacks rarely start the team's first game in the regular season and of those that do, play for stable teams. The Bengals have an entirely new offense to implement with a new core of starting wide receivers and a second-year slot receiver. There's too much instability for a rookie quarterback.
  • If Dalton is shelled early during his rookie season, the team runs the risk of having another David Klingler on their hands, shellshocked into mediocrity due to poor pass protection.
  • Growing pains early during his rookie season could quickly knock the Bengals out of games while he adjusts to the speed of the league and the overwhelming talent of defensive players in the secondary.
  • The lockout is stalling rookie development because players can't work with coaches. With the Bengals implementing a new offensive philosophy, it could take Dalton a little longer simply because the lockout will prevent interaction with the coaches until the labor situation is resolved.

If the Bengals don't sign another veteran free agent quarterback, should the team start Andy Dalton or ease him in with Jordan Palmer or Dan LeFevour starting first?