NFL Football

Andy Dalton is the biggest problem for the Bengals right now

Dalton has had a terrible start to the season, as anyone with 2 functioning eyeballs can see, and should be able to openly and freely admit. Actually, the worst start of a season in his 7 year career. Dalton has bumbled his team along to a dismal 0-3 record – and has just 2 TD passes in 3 games, and 4 picks in that same timeframe.

The Bengals have struggled to move the ball – and have only been scoring an average of 11.0 /game so far in 2017. His supporting teammates, meaning their awful Oline, has been less than stellar as well, as he has been dropped behind the line of scrimmage for 11 sacks – which has a lot to do with not just bad decision making from Dalton, but an Oline that have been playing like a row of rusty turnstiles right now. The Bengals offensive line has been beyond terrible after losing veteran Andrew Whitworth and the very strong, Kevin Zeitler to free agency during the offseason to the Rams and the Browns. Which really hurt them – based on them being 2 very important players for Cincinnati for numerous years.

And when that same lousy Oline line is forced to protect in a pass oriented offense, like Cincinnati has been put into – with 31/attempts game, the QB is going to be back there, standing there, waiting to get smoked. But the curveball is, that Dalton hasn’t always been under a brutal punishing rush of opponents, he has even struggled moving the ball even when not under duress.

Just 2 short seasons ago, Dalton and the Bengals had an offense that was rocking and rolling, and looking like they
finally hit their stride, putting up 26/game at 7th in the NFL. Dalton had the best season of his 7 career in almost every statistical category, with a hefty 8.42 YPA, 25 passing TDs, and a 106.3 passer rating. This season, he has been anything but good – with a pitiful 202 YDs/game, a bottom feeding 5.97 YPA, and 2 TDs in 3 games.

Make no mistake about it, the Bengals really need to do something more creative to start opening things up for their offense on the whole. They have to get the Cincinnati sluggish offense moving again with some consistency. As they have struggled to get explosive plays for their guys and get their big play WRs more involved, one can’t help but to question if Andy Dalton has hit the infamous “rock bottom.” He has shown he can bounce back from poor play before, but I am questioning very much if the Red Rifle can make a bounce back this year. Granted, Dalton played better vs Green Bay in week 3, but I find it hard to wholeheartedly trust him fully, as the Bengals D had gotten an obscene amount of defensive pressure, and snuck in a pick 6 in that game.

While it may sound crazy or even semi-irrational for considering the Bengals to bench their QB who has led them with a relative amount of success in favor of an unknown potential. But, at this stage, would it be such a bad idea? Would there be some mad logic to making such a bold move?

One would have to have to think with all the talent on the Bengals offense they should be able to right the ship. With WRs A.J. Green, Brandon LaFell, and talented TE, Tyler Eifert – along with steady yard producer, Giovani Bernard, and rookie Joe Mixon in the backfield, they should be able to create some semblance of threat to opposing defenses.

Dalton has to still be on a very short leash and rightly should be. If he continues to struggle under new offensive coordinator, Bill Lazor, he should be benched. And the next man up would be former Alabama star, McCarron.

The Bengals have to get moving in the right direction, very fast. Based on the AFC North division, it’s far from being ripped away from them, even still. Only the Steelers have shown a real honest push to be the division champion right now, and they still haven’t been overly dominant. They have a tough conference they are playing in, but if they can actually muster 9 or somehow 10 wins, they could still make a playoff run. Cincinnati made the right move, in letting Ken Zampese go and gave the offensive duties to the 45 year old Bill Lazor. He should be able to get something more out of the team. But, without a game plan that can open up some kind of running game, whoever the Bengals throw behind center, whether it is Dalton or McCarron, could still be in a heap of trouble.

And the reality is, if Dalton doesn’t make something good happen in a hurry – the Bengals have got to consider handing the ball to 27 year old A.J. McCarron and let him try and spark the Bengals offense. They drafted him for a reason, maybe take a look and see if he may be their future guy. Why wouldn’t the Bengals at least try to give McCarron a shot, at this point?

And the bold truth be told, next offseason, the Bengals may be forced to decide if Andy is the final answer for them at QB.
He has not been making plays when needed – and if he continues to make bonehead plays on the field, the Bengals would have to give McCarron a look. Lazor should put McCarron out there and see if he can make some plays for them. The situation around him isn’t great, which in some odd way, while being very tough, maybe good for him. Cincinnati has many years showing what Dalton brings to the team, and he might not be the guy they had hoped for.

Mike Anthony of 10StarPicks.com

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