Andy Dalton became a team leader as a rookie because of the position he plays. Six years later, the Bengals quarterback has earned the title.
“He takes the bull by the horns,” coach Marvin Lewis said, via Joe Kay of the Associated Press. “That’s important. He knows that he’s got to be the leader of the football team. He didn’t need to do that early on because we needed him to focus on being quarterback and to focus on doing his job.”
The departures of Andrew Whitworth, Domata Peko and Rey Maualuga in recent seasons leave Dalton as one of the longest-tenured Bengals. It is different than in 2011 when, as a rookie, Dalton was thrown into the starting lineup.
“You get in the huddle and there are guys that are 10 years older than you,” Dalton said. “It’s just a different time. Obviously I’m not the same kind of leader now that I was then, but I feel like I did all right that first year.”
Dalton, 29, has a 56-35-2 record with four playoff appearances and three Pro Bowls. But he has yet to win a postseason game as Bengals fans are painfully aware.