When a head coach gets fired, the veteran quarterback associated with him usually isn’t too far away from a similar fate.
After all, teams changing at the top want to spread that change throughout the rest of the roster, and the incoming group of coaches had no say in the players who were brought in before them. If the most important position on the field doesn’t fit what they want to accomplish offensively, it would make sense that the team could consider a change there.
That is what Bengals fans are currently seeing happen. The team parted ways with Marvin Lewis, and it is all but certain that Zac Taylor will replace him. So of course speculation has flown around about what that means for Andy Dalton heading into his ninth season.
At least one former Bengal quarterback has come out in defense of the team’s current signal caller though.
“Talk to me next year,” Boomer Esiason told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. “Let’s see how he looks next year. He’s their quarterback. There’s going to be a new offense, a new way of doing things, which I think is great for him.”
This is a fair stance to take. Look at how Sean McVay taking over in Los Angeles helped Jared Goff, who is now getting ready to play in a Super Bowl on Sunday. He went from a questionable first-overall pick to a talented starter who improved even more in his third season. Plenty of the push back against Dalton comes from fans looking at how all these young quarterbacks are coming into the NFL and lighting it up, which is something Esiason thinks is something quarterbacks just have to deal with.
“That’s part of the quarterback tradition. We get killed,” Esiason said. “He’s a good player. Not everybody can be Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes … (Dalton) is a good dude. He’s got high character and you can win with that.”
It feels like when you start listing intangibles that maybe your argument becomes less convincing. There is no question that Dalton is one of the best people in the NFL. He and his wife do plenty of charitable events for this area.
At the end of the day though, it becomes how far can he realistically take this team. It is true that not every quarterback will be a Mahomes or Brady, but are the Bengals built to beat teams with one of those guys while Dalton is the quarterback? We got some answers in 2018 when the Chiefs and Saints ran Cincinnati off the field, and of course Dalton doesn’t deserve all of the blame for that. Maybe Taylor can get Dalton to play better in those game, but those are the kinds of teams you have to face in order to get to that ultimate goal of Super Bowl.
That is somewhere Esiason made it to for Super Bowl XXIII, which ultimately ended up with Joe Montana leading one of the most memorable drives in Super Bowl history to give the 49ers another championship. He still knows what it takes to make it to the biggest stage in football. Since finishing his playing days, he has become an analyst for CBS.
Dalton could be a great bridge quarterback, and there is a chance that Taylor could get Dalton to that next level that we all have been waiting to see. It is just important to remember that Taylor has no ties to Dalton, and that a change could very well be coming in the next few seasons. Fans just need to keep an open mind at this time.