It’s time to play the summer’s favorite game: “Where does Andy Dalton rank among the NFL’s quarterbacks?”
Alright, we’ll put away the game show announcer voice for a second, as we take a look at yet another arbitrary rankings list of the NFL’s signal-callers. During the Bengals’ run to five straight postseason berths under Dalton, he was routinely ranked in the top-half of the league, or so.
According to Sporting News, these past two losing seasons have caused a major regression as the team heads into the 2018 season. In their most recent rankings, Dalton comes in much lower than some may have expected.
No. 26: Andy Dalton
Age: 30 | Career passer rating: 88.7
Dalton, like 2011 draft classmate Cam Newton, has regressed to his own mean after an exceptional fifth season. Bad offensive line play and inconsistency at receiver behind A.J. Green have contributed, but there has been a lowered floor to go with Dalton’s limited ceiling as a dependent passer.
I suppose we should just add Vinnie Iyer’s take to the ever-growing list of low expectations for the 2018 Bengals. Yes, Dalton has limitations, and yes, there have been signs of regression since his MVP-like 2015 campaign.
But, the Bengals should know who he is at this point and they’ve done him no favors when it has come to free agency. Andrew Whitworth, Kevin Zeitler, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu have all been lost to other teams since the team’s last division title three years ago.
But, let’s have a gander at who Iyer, in his infinite wisdom, placed ahead of Dalton in the 25 spots ahead of the Bengals’ signal-caller. At No. 25, he has Patrick Mahomes, who, despite being a 2017 first round pick, has one NFL start to his name.
Mitchell Trubisky comes in ahead of both Mahomes and Dalton at No. 24 on this list, while the ever-embattled Blake Bortles is ranked at No. 21.
Other questionable decisions is Jimmy Garoppolo coming in at No. 8 and Deshaun Watson at No. 12. Sure, they have talent and have won games, but 13 combined NFL starts between the both of them have them that far ahead of Dalton?
Then, there’s the quarterbacks in the division. Of course, Ben Roethlisberger is tops in the division at No. 6, while Cleveland’s Tyrod Taylor (a quarterback Dalton beat in a recent head-to-head contest) comes in at No. 16.
Perhaps the only bigger surprise than Dalton coming in at No. 26 on this list is Joe Flacco coming in at No. 29.
Look, Dalton hasn’t earned the benefit of the national media’s doubt because of an 0-4 playoff record (missed 2015 Wild Card game with an injury). Even so, a permeating belief on the national spectrum is that he’s the seventh-worst starter in the league?
As we mentioned before, this is just the latest in a string of recent slights to the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason. We’ll see if the perceptions are correct, or if this will all be fuel for the team to use in another seemingly improbable playoff berth.
What do you think of Sporting News ranking Andy Dalton as the 26th-best quarterback in the NFL?