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@CincyJungle I think bengals fans are starting to believe in Andy Dalton this could be his Romo coming out party ? Is it to soon to think ?
— Christian No Grey (@Call_Me_Flash) September 30, 2015
Thanks for the question Christian and excellent Twitter background picture by the way! I suppose you could say that and no, I don't think it is too soon. The biggest thing I am seeing with Dalton thus far in 2015 (aside from having all of his weapons healthy) is that he appears to be comfortable with his offense. He is making the right reads, making smart decisions with the football and learning that sometimes the best play is to simply throw the ball away and live for another down. To me, it appears that the game is beginning to slow down for Dalton, and if so, that is a good thing for this team and could mean good things come January.
@CincyJungle when does Dennard get serious PT?
— Greg A (@gregulators) September 30, 2015
Well, if George Iloka sits on Sunday with his ankle injury, it could actually open up the possibility of Darqueze Dennard getting in on more defensive action. If Iloka does play, probably not until later in the season - or if an injury occurs (knock on wood). I know a lot of Bengals fans (myself included) want to see Dennard, but having him sit is not a bad thing, nor is it a knock on how good he is. It is a testament to how good the three guys in front of him are and how well they are continuing to play. I think most expected Dennard to beat out Leon Hall this year - and he would have if Hall played like he did in 2014 - but Hall has been playing very well. That being said, as the season wears on and Hall needs some rest, I believe you will begin seeing more of Dennard. I also believe that with Adam Jones and Hall both free agents after the 2015 season and both getting up there in age, the Bengals are prepared to make Dennard a starter in 2016 alongside Dre Kirkpatrick. I share your enthusiasm of wanting to see the young talent out there, but the fact that he is not out there is not a bad thing.
Better? Yes. More valuable? I think you're right. Hall is the consummate pro and I don't think his leadership in the locker room, particularly the DB room can be overstated. I think Hall himself would admit he did not have a great year in 2014, but what I don't think he will admit, is that his down year was related to his Achilles recovery. Like Geno Atkins, Hall was medically cleared to play, but like Atkins, he spent all offseason rehabbing, which is significantly different than training. As such, while he was healthy in 2014, he wasn't back to himself - and at 29-years-old and coming off two Achilles tears in two years, that was to be expected. I think you are seeing what an offseason of training can do, and though the two Achilles tears have slowed him down a bit and knocked him down a peg or two in terms of his overall ability, he is still a solid cornerback who would start on most teams and just might be the best slot corner in the game right now.
No. Though you wouldn't be able to tell with the recent rash of trades, midseason trades in the NFL are rare and for good reason. A good player who doesn't know the playbook is worse than a mediocre player who does know the playbook. The last thing you want to do is add in a linebacker who doesn't know or fit the defense. I understand your thought process - the Bengals linebacker play has been disappointing thus far - but remember, they should be getting Vontaze Burfict back in a few weeks and that will make a huge difference. In the meantime, I wouldn't be surprised to see P.J. Dawson start getting some more playing time. Dawson looked great in the preseason and has the ability to give the Bengals a big play linebacker like Burfict. As it stands, the only way the Bengals are going to fix the linebacker play is by getting better play from the guys on their current roster and hope that Burfict returns to full health.