Marvin Lewis on Andy Dalton: “Wherever he ends up, he’ll be an asset”

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In each of the first five years of Andy Dalton‘s career, the Bengals made the playoffs. His coach for those five seasons, and three after that, was Marvin Lewis.

Lewis spoke to PFT by phone on Friday regarding Dalton, who was cut by the Bengals on Thursday.

“Wherever he ends up,” Lewis said of Dalton, “he’ll be an asset.”

Lewis reflected on Dalton, taken 35th overall in 2011, showing up for training camp without the benefit of an offseason program (thanks to the lockout) and quickly getting up to speed with the offense. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, the first overall pick in 2011, did the same thing; the difference, however, is that Cincinnati and not Carolina qualified for the postseason that year.

“Jay [Gruden] did a tremendous job of building the offense through Andy,” Lewis said of his former offensive coordinator in Cincinnati, who would go on to become the head coach in Washington and who now is offensive coordinator in Jacksonville. “And Andy did a great job of taking care of the football and not getting ahead of himself.”

Lewis also praised Dalton’s ability and willingness to be ready for every game.

“He’s extremely smart,” Lewis said, “prepared, ready to go. By lunchtime on Tuesday, he had the opponent down pat. He’ll be a good aide for a young guy and if something happens, he’ll be ready to go.”

This assumes that Dalton won’t get an opportunity to start. The one place where he’d have the best chance to do that is in New England, where unproven 2019 fourth-rounder Jarrett Stidham leads the depth chart.

It’s easy to forget the things Dalton did early in his career, given the way things ended with the Bengals. After an 0-8 start in 2019, new coach Zac Taylor benched Dalton for rookie Ryan Finley. After three games, Taylor had to turn back to Dalton because it was clear that Finley couldn’t get it done. Dalton then led the Bengals to a 2-3 record down the stretch, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Bengals out of the top spot in the draft, and the team’s ability to select Ohio native Joe Burrow sealed Dalton’s fate.

Dalton’s best season arguably came in 2015, when Cincinnati and Denver were on a collision course for a late-season Monday night game that was destined to determine the top seed in the AFC. Two weeks before that game, however, Dalton broke his thumb while making a tackle after an interception, ending his season.

The Bengals still nearly beat the Broncos with A.J. McCarron, losing in overtime, finishing 12-4, finishing third in a three-year tiebreaker with the Broncos and Patriots, hosting the Steelers in the wild-card round, and squandering what would have been the team’s first playoff win since January 1991 in a driving downpour and a haze of late-game personal fouls.

McCarron, not Dalton, started that playoff game. But Dalton continues to be perceived by some as a guy who went 0-5 in the postseason.

“Andy’s contribution was not a negative ever in the playoffs,” Lewis said. “But he gets blamed for it, even though I should get the blame as the coach.”

Quietly, Dalton has climbed to 44 on the all-time career passing yardage list, and he’s within a thousand yards of passing Hall of Famer Kurt Warner. Although Dalton’s chances to add to that amount may hinge on injury to or gross ineffectiveness of the No. 1 option on the team he eventually joins, Dalton is only 32 and has plenty of productive years left.

As Dalton now embarks on his next phase, the full scope of his career should be considered by whoever pursues him. And it will be important to assess the good and the bad. Although recent history has had more bad than good, there is plenty of good on Dalton’s resume.

33 responses to “Marvin Lewis on Andy Dalton: “Wherever he ends up, he’ll be an asset”

  1. Great article. I am a Bengals fan and I do not blame Dalton at all for what has happened. He was running for his life last year, as was Finley. He is smart and efficient when given the proper tools to work with.

  2. A reasonable Bengal article, for a change. Thank you.

    Andy is a good quarterback with the right pieces around him. I would take him over at least 10 other qb’s penciled as starters in the NFL right now. Brains and enough talent to make a team competitive. Pair him up with McDaniels or Gruden, and see what happens.

  3. The one place where he’d have the best chance to do that is in New England

    The problem is would Dalton agree to a league minimum contract because they don’t have the cap space to pay him any more than that. I think Andy is looking for more than that. San Diego would make sense. They have a choice between playing Tyrod or throwing Herbert out there to the wolves. Dalton is definitely a better QB than Tyrod. They could sign Dalton to a modest one-year deal to give Herbert some time to develop. That could also give Dalton to show he can still play at a high level and maybe another team would give him a chance next year.

  4. Dalton is Tier 2, not terrible, and not good.
    I’d offer a contract with a very lose base, but very high incentive clauses.
    If he has a good year he gets paid a lot more.

  5. Andy Dalton is a top 10 franchise QB. Unfortunately for him, he is also a class act and good guy or he would have hit F.A. a long long time ago.

    The truth is he is regularly dumped on for the 0-5 playoffs crap. Marvin Lewis is correct, that falls on Lewis amd Brown, not Andy Dalton. The Bengals owner runs the team like it is 1956 and Lewis’ playbook was stuck in 1986. Even still, Dalton got them to the playoffs 5 years in a row which is a testament to how good Andy is.

    Had he landed with a different franchise there is no doubts he would have 1 or 2 Lombardi trophies right now.

  6. WOW ! A lot of love for Andy on the ol message boards these days. When he played for the Bengals all I heard was he’s trash, blah, blah, blah. Now some idiots in here claim he’s a top 10 QB LOL.

  7. dejadoh says:
    May 2, 2020 at 10:58 am
    Dalton is a top 10 QB. Plus, considering QBs, he’s relatively young.
    ——
    Top 10 ? Nah, MAYBE top 20
    Mahomes
    Rodgers
    Watson
    Brady
    Wilson
    Rivers
    Brees
    Ryan
    Tannehill
    Allen
    Jackson
    Wentz
    Stafford
    Roethlisberger
    Any QB coached by Belichick
    BURROW
    Probably missing some obvious names

  8. MortimerInMiami says:
    May 2, 2020 at 11:11 am
    Belichick would get Dalton to the SB.
    —————-
    Dalton too honest of a guy to do what Belichick would want him to do.

  9. I hope wherever Andy Dalton ends up that things go well for him. He seems really down to earth and well grounded. He seems really durable as well. Now he needs the right system.

  10. Adam Kachur says:
    May 2, 2020 at 12:08 pm
    ^burrow over baker mayfield? you gotta be joking, right?
    ——
    Nope. If Baker was in this years draft he may have been the 4th QB drafted

  11. Adam Kachur says:
    May 2, 2020 at 12:08 pm
    ^burrow over baker mayfield? you gotta be joking, right?
    _________

    Sorry, but Baker is in the Winston class. Until they manage the turnovers, they will never win as much as the elite QBs.

    2019 Mayfield
    3827 yds, 22 TD, 21 int

    2019 Winston
    5109 yds, 33 TD, 30 int

  12. Every armchair HC has an opinion. I just hope Andy succeeds wherever he goes. He caught a lot of grief from worn out Bengals fans who unjustly blamed him for the way that team is run.. Love see him come here to TN to back Tannehill but I think he’s got a starting gig waiting in NE..

  13. Andy is a class act. Absolute gem of a human being. But let’s not make him out to be a great, or even good, QB. Top ten QBs don’t get cut by their teams in the prime of their careers. That’s nonsense.

    As for the playoffs, no, he didn’t go 0 and 5. He went 0 and 4. With 1 TD and 6 INTs and a 57.8 rating. In his closest playoff loss, the Bengals still lost by 15 points. That is not the stuff of a Top Ten QB.

  14. I still have the same reflection as a few days ago. One of those playoff losses was the infamous vontaze burfict and pacman Jones meltdown game against the Steelers. Marvin was devastated. Their stupidity snatched defeat from the hands of victory. That was not on Dalton who played a tremendous game.

  15. I look for Andy Dalton to be an asset for any team that signs him.

    Andy played behind a weak to maybe average OL his entire career at Cincinnati. I don’t recall him every asking the Bengals to trade him. To me that shows he’s a team player first and in all situations. I respect a player like that, and I would welcome him on my team.

  16. Really not interested in watching Andy Dalton be the starting QB for New England. I want to see what Stidham can do. I already know what Dalton can do.

  17. If Dalton were truly any good, the Bengals would’ve traded the pick to Miami for a boatload of picks.

  18. Andy Dalton has a great offensive line the first half of his career and a poor one the second half. You see why they stopped winning then. He’s a solid player with the pieces around him and he will do well wherever he goes.

  19. tyreehelmetcatch says:
    May 2, 2020 at 1:57 pm
    I still have the same reflection as a few days ago. One of those playoff losses was the infamous vontaze burfict and pacman Jones meltdown game against the Steelers. Marvin was devastated. Their stupidity snatched defeat from the hands of victory. That was not on Dalton who played a tremendous game.

    Too bad Dalton was on the sidelines w a broken hand during that game smh. Id say 90 percent of the comments on this site do what this guy did. Just typing w no facts or idea what he is talking about.

  20. From 2018 class, Jackson and Mayfield are the only ones with wins against playoff teams. Always look for QB to win or play well against good teams not padding stats against bad teams when comparing them. Allen and Darnold signature wins were against the Cowboys who were not very good as it turned out.

  21. Jacksonville or another team needing a bridge QB before they draft their long-term QB would probably be a good place for him. Some of the Dalton is great stuff is comical though. It was the Bengals and Mike Brown is why that team won’t ever win anything as you saw how much Marvin Lewis was swimming upstream against all of those years culminate last year, but you could objectively say that year that he broke his hand and the preceding year, the Bengals had a top five, even a top three roster in football. I think he did adequate with it, but no one ever saw that team going anywhere squarely because he was the QB, and now he’s 32.

  22. Marvin Lewis on Andy Dalton: “Wherever he ends up, he’ll be an asset”
    _____________________

    0’fer Lewis must finally realize how he held Dalton and the Bengals back!

  23. Lewis was a nice guy but what a choker in the playoffs. He didn’t crack down on the antics of Burfict or PacMan, & it cost the Bengals a HUGE game. Not a surprise that Dalton now gets HIS ticket out of Cincy.

  24. Dallas please sign Dalton as at least a high quality backup QB. When Dallas overpays Dak and then Dak goes down with an injury or plays lackluster after the big contract as players do a lot in Dallas (see most recently Dez Bryant, DeMarcus Lawrence, Zeke Elliott et all) then Dalton would be a great option to pick up the slack. Hell trade Dak and sign Newton and Dalton combined for less than Dak anyway.

  25. And given the talent around Big Ben if put in the same situation I’d take Dalton every time, with the talent Ben’s had around him he should have >4 SB rings, that team has been loaded most of the time! Ben throws way too many INT to even be considered a top 20 QB, he can throw 5 TD one week and come out and throw 5 INT the next I don’t think Dalton has ever done that and for Ben it’s a regular thing.

  26. joshhatesthesteelers says:
    May 2, 2020 at 11:34 am
    dejadoh says:
    May 2, 2020 at 10:58 am
    Dalton is a top 10 QB. Plus, considering QBs, he’s relatively young.
    ——
    Top 10 ? Nah, MAYBE top 20
    Mahomes
    Rodgers
    Watson
    Brady
    Wilson
    Rivers
    Brees
    Ryan
    Tannehill
    Allen
    Jackson
    Wentz
    Stafford
    Roethlisberger
    Any QB coached by Belichick
    BURROW
    ____________________________

    WOW including Mahomes, Watson, (one good year)Tannehill and Jackson who weren’t even in the NFL for most of Dalton’s career on that list? We don’t even know how good any of those QB’s will be long term. And Andy did it behind no OL with just one WR and a horrible HC.

    And you put Burrow on the list and he hasn’t taken one snap on the NFL, GET REAL!

    And Allen, are you kiddin’ me? He couldn’t even sniff Dalton’s jock strap! He sucks, PERIOD, he just gets bailed out by a great D!

    Next you’ll be trying to tell us Dilfer was better that Dalton because Dilfer has a ring!

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