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Mailbag: Community Reaction To Andy Dalton

The community is extremely divisive about Andy Dalton right now. So, as prompted by most of you, a solution to stop worrying about the state of our quarterback position so that everyone can enjoy the season.

Andy Lyons

I love this community. Agreements, disagreements, whatever the case, most of you bring well-reasoned arguments to the table making for engaging conversations; once we filter through the minority that saturate our pages with the negativity of course. No one, and I mean no one, not the mainstream sites (even with their horrible facebook plug-ins), not other fan sites, have the overall community that we do; and that's something to stand up for; even with those that hate on the staff.

We ran a post on Monday that asked if the Cincinnati Bengals were growing frustrated with quarterback Andy Dalton, citing several quotes from Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, as well as the media types with anonymous sources (yea, frustrates me too, but that's the biz these days). It's not a matter of supporting or not supporting Dalton. He's your starting quarterback, so it's a foregone conclusion; even if you're madly frustrated with him (and despite some that criticize others for being critical, you're entitled to your frustrations and opinion). And there's reasonable arguments being made that he's comparatively as good as other players (which we've never said otherwise).

In fact, my favorite comment was from Gho$tRider, who wrote:

"Imagine if this board was here in the 70's and a certain young man named Kenny Anderson was the subject. He started his career of much in the same way Andy is."

Comparing Dalton's first 37 starts to Anderson's, Dalton has more wins, more yards, more touchdowns, a higher rating, and a higher completion percentage. And Dalton has Jay Gruden whereas Anderson had two legendary figures in Paul Brown and Bill Walsh.

Dalton's career numbers with Anderson's numbers during his first 37 starts of their respective careers:

Dalton 22-15 1,219 743 60.9 8,282 52 34 82.9
Anderson 21-16 859 488 56.8 6,110 38 29 79.7

With the post, we polled the readers with three simple choices that asked readers where they're at with Dalton.

As of Monday night, the results were:

Give Dalton until his contracts (2014), and then decide (54 percent).
Looking at possible high-round draft picks (43 percent).
What are you talking about, he's flipping great (3 percent).

A few of your comments.

Bengalsfan339 offered a good one.

Andy Dalton was not drafted to be the next Peyton Manning. He has led this team to back to back playoff wins. He’s beaten the Steelers back to back. I can go on about achievements. Does he come out a little inaccurate in some games, hell yes. But the kid doesn’t let poor play affect him the rest of the game. He comes back and does what he has to do.

There is something to the point about Dalton and his intangibles, most definitely. Even head coach Marvin Lewis commented on that during Monday's presser.

"One of the better qualities of Andy Dalton is the fact that he lets a bad play go and moves forward, and he did that yesterday," said Lewis.

TommyBengal, a Dalton supporter, comments:

I wouldn’t be upset if they drafted a QB high in next year’s draft. However, I am still of the belief that Gruden needs to step up and do his job too! Gruden’s game plans have absolutely sucked and he is slow to adjust. Though yesterday’s game wasn’t a high scoring affair, at least they appeared to have a game plan in effect. Until next years draft, we need to support the team that’s on the field. I’m rather disappointed that the "fans" felt it necessary to boo Dalton during his introduction.

A great many of you were open to two options. Allowing Dalton's four-year contract to expire and then re-assess, while looking at the available quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL draft. Why this year and not next? Per Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback posting this week.

The other day at The MMQB, our college football guru, Andy Staples, did his weekly list of the top 50 draft prospects. He had nine quarterbacks rated among his top 32 picks. When I asked Staples to do this list weekly during the college season, I told him to put underclass players in if he thinks they’ll be declaring for the draft. Thus Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, a junior, in. Thus UCLA redshirt sophomore Brett Hundley, out. Staples’ gut tells him Bridgewater comes out and Hundley stays in school.

So I asked a veteran road scout who has been out this fall looking at quarterbacks—his team will be in the market for one in the 2014 draft—what he thought of us having nine quarterbacks, from Bridgewater at No. 1 to Fresno State senior Derek Carr (brother of David) No. 31.

"It would not surprise me when we make our board if we have nine quarterbacks with first-round grades,’’ he said. "Not at all. Obviously, that depends on which underclassmen declare, and you hear things out there. But I could see it.''

That doesn’t mean nine quarterbacks will go in the first round, obviously. That won’t happen. But the big numbers at quarterback, assuming players like Manziel and Bridgewater and Oregon redshirt soph Marcus Mariota do come out, could be very good for teams like Minnesota and Oakland. The Vikings and Raiders could exit 2013 doubting Christian Ponder/Josh Freeman (and Freeman could want to play elsewhere) and Terrelle Pryor as their long-term quarterback answers—but they may not be ready to pull the plug on them for good. The market might be so good that teams thought not to be in the market (Philadelphia, Dallas, Denver, Cincinnati and Houston, for example) could see a highly ranked guy on their board sitting there in the third round and think he’s just too good a player to pass up.

Here is where this philosophy makes sense.

Draft a quarterback within the first three rounds of the 2014 NFL draft. If Dalton's production takes that significant leap that's expected of him at some point, negotiate an extension after 2014 and keep him as the starting quarterback. Now you have a developing backup quarterback that you could use for trade bait, possibly for a draft pick in the round that you used to grab him originally.

On the other hand, if Dalton isn't remarkably improved by the end of 2014, Cincinnati has their groomed quarterback ready to step in. We'll call that a contingency plan; a plan that works for Dalton supporters and detractors so that the season can move on a bit more smoothly for everyone.

In the meantime, put on your Dalton jersey and enjoy the season. Now we'll talk about more relevant topics. Such as Adam Jones' trial.