Discussion of the Bengals’ chances of winning their first playoff game in more than 20 years inevitably comes back to quarterback Andy Dalton.
The offense’s failure to produce much more than a whimper in either of the last two playoff losses has led to questions about whether Dalton’s the right man to lead the team where it wants to go. It’s not hard to find people saying that the 2013 season, Dalton’s third in the NFL, is a crucial one for the quarterback. There are dissenters, however, and wide receiver A.J. Green is in that camp.
“I don’t feel like it’s a make-or-break year for him,” Green said, via the team’s website. “He’s still the quarterback of the future because he has every intangible to be a great one. He works hard, he has great leadership. I think he’ll be fine.”
Green went on to say that he thinks it takes quarterbacks four or five years to find their groove and that any criticism Dalton faces comes with the territory of being an NFL quarterback. He’s right about that, but it is definitely shaping up to be a big year for Dalton.
Dalton’s rookie deal is up after the 2014 season and a failure to show growth this year would at least give the Bengals pause before they decide to commit their long-term future to Dalton. That might not make it make-or-break, but the same old, same old probably isn’t going to make too many people clamor for doubling down on a future with Dalton at the helm.