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Bengals Jay Gruden Defends Andy Dalton Against Critics (Again)

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Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden hears the criticism of Andy Dalton and comes out to defend his starting quarterback.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Here's the early offseason itinerary for Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton every year. Analysts and "experts" question Andy Dalton's ability to lead Cincinnati to the next level, while head coach Marvin Lewis and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden scratch their heads about prevalent opinion from said experts and analysts. Even some fans have wavered on their belief that Dalton can take Cincinnati to said "next level".

That being said offensive coordinator Jay Gruden tells everyone to settle down.

"We're not going to trade anybody or get somebody new. We have to do a good job making sure he takes the necessary steps to progress and get better in year three."-Jay Gruden on Andy Dalton

"He may not be in the category of Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers and those guys. Yet," Gruden tells Bengals.com. "He's in year two, he's a great guy. He competes his butt off and I know everyone wants perfection from that position. It's a very criticized position. As it should be. I think he's done pretty well for his first two years. We need better."

Gruden continues by identifying some things that Dalton has done well, specifically a throw against the Pittsburgh Steelers to clinch a postseason berth. The play was an impressive 21-yard out to A.J. Green with 14 seconds remaining, allowing the wide receiver to stop the clock running out of bounds. Josh Brown took the field and converted the 43-yard field goal for the win. The pass that setup Brown's game-winning field goal could be identified as Dalton's best yet.

"He's done some pretty good things. Beat Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh. A critical game for us to get into the playoffs. We didn't light it up on offense. He managed the game well, we punted when we had to punt, the defense played well. He made the play at the end of the game to get us into field position. I think he can be successful."