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ASK CJ: Taking Your Questions About Anything

We're having some twitter fun with Ask CJ where you can ask us about anything. The Bengals, the NFL, your favorite TV show, the meaning of life. People stayed with the Bengals, so it'll be some time before this takes off. But our first iteration.

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Is Andy Dalton a franchise quarterback and the quarterback of the future? (email)

Let's be honest, I don't believe in labels. Bust. Elite. Franchise. Needless labels to qualify simplistic descriptions really don't mean anything; it generates too much needless background noise. If you label Andy Dalton a franchise quarterback, then you develop unrealistic expectations and overreact when that player doesn't meet those expectations. If you don't label him a franchise quarterback, you spend most of your time obsessing on how the Bengals find their franchise quarterback.

All that matters during a playoff run is the next game, the game after that, and then when the regular season concludes, the playoffs. Whether or not someone is a franchise guy is a trivial label that offers nothing in resolution. How's that for a cop-out answer?

At this rate, I'd accept a game-managing offensive system that reduces the overall number of mistakes -- that's my biggest issue right now. But it's not just Dalton; let's make that abundantly clear. The miscommunication between the quarterback and receiver hasn't gone away and the penalties are turning into situations where those postions are stalling out.

This offense (Dalton included) has show to be talented enough to score from anywhere on the field, no matter the score. When they're clicking, they're so close to being dominating.

It wouldn't even be close. Even if the same seeding scenario played out (currently the two teams would swap places and the game would be played in Cincinnati), the Bengals defense would significantly demoralize an already demoralized offense. Arian Foster, who has amassed 293 yards rushing and three touchdowns in both of Cincinnati's wild card games in the last two years, is already out for the year.

J.J. Watt could be a problem, considering a screen pass to Jay Gruden is not unlike a child refusing to eat his brussel sprouts. But even that is hoping that Gruden has learned his lesson from Sunday to not throw the ball against sustained winds similar to an F0 tornado.

For a single-game, Marvin Jones. Defensively, it's Taylor Mays. After being a projected cut throughout training camp as a safety, Mays stepped up when Emmanuel Lamur suffered a season-ending injury. Within a week, Mays learned the position of coverage linebacker and adapted to it where his natural ability was finally an enhancement for the defense. He still had his head-scratching moments, but within a year, he went from a player that I wouldn't care was released, to someone that I hope that they re-sign this offseason.

On the other hand, BenJarvus Green-Ellis hasn't had the production as a short-yardage back that we had hoped out of him, but since it's a team-sport, we realize that some of those failed runs were due to questionable blocking and significant penetration. Regardless, his production has been "meh".

After thinking about it for 0.0000000001 seconds, the immediately rule I'd change is the infraction leveled for defensive pass interference. Instead of a spot foul, let's replicate college football and do the 15-yard variety. It would make sense, incrementally increasing the other coverage fouls. Such as the five-yard defensive hold, the ten-yard illegal contact, why not the 15-yard defensive holding.

I just have a seriously problem that pass interference is viewed with greater consequence during the game than a personal foul.

After starting the season 0-4, the Steelers (as you know, Neal) have won four of their last six games, claimed a share of second place with the Ravens and Browns. Pittsburgh's remaining schedule has two games against the Browns, and then the Dolphins, Ravens, Packers (with Aaron Rodgers?) and the Bengals. Winnable games, no doubt (except for Cincinnati, of course).

Cincinnati currently has a 2.5-game lead over the Steelers and need to win three of the next five games, including the head-to-head against Pittsburgh to eliminate them from the picture. On the other hand, the Bengals have games in San Diego and Pittsburgh while hosting the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens, who have already beaten the Bengals this year.

Anything could happen.

That being said, I'm going Bengals, Steelers, Browns, Ravens.

Is money involved? Just kidding. But seriously, is there money involved? I'm more impressed about Andre Ellington's reaction not unlike one of us forcing our keys. Deep in thought, Ellington asks, "Where... did... I... put my hair?"