Heís been quietly moving through the quarterback ranks becoming one of the more accurate and consistent passers in the game. His week three performance against the Washington Redskins was a tour de force in leadership and excellence. Now, heís becoming a hero not just in Cincinnati, but also in the entire NFL realm. His name is Andy Dalton, and he deserves your respect.
Drafted last year in the second round (thirty-fifth overall) by the Cincinnati Bengals, Andy Dalton was a stud hailing from TCU, coming off a phenomenal final season there, where he posted a 21-19 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl. Heading into the 2011 draft, he was seen by many experts as a solid selection with his accuracy, mobility, and ability to throw on the run as his strong suits. Currently, Dalton is proving to everyone why heís a franchise quarterback on the rise.
This year, Dalton has literally stepped up his game. Nicknamed the Red Rifle by Bengals fans, Dalton has led the Cats to a phenomenal 2-1 start. With the exception of a disastrous start to the 2012 season against the Baltimore Ravens, where Dalton passed fairly well excluding an interception he threw, the Bengals were torn apart by their division rival 44-13. This rout was a wake up call for this team looking to make a bigger statement this year.
That statement started in Week 2 when Dalton stepped up his game and guided the Bengals to a huge 34-27 win over the Cleveland Browns. Daltonís pocket presence and patience helped him pass for 318 yards and three touchdowns. His accuracy was noted as being a reason why the Bengals were consistent on offense. He threw for 24 of 31 passes on the afternoon for a 128.2 quarterback rating. The following week, against the Washington Redskins, Dalton excelled even further by completing 19 of 27 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns with a single interception. His quarterback rating was at a stellar 132.9 for the day and Dalton was nominated for the AFC Offensive Player of the Week. Not only did Dalton lead the Bengals to a much needed 38-31 victory, he played his part as a receiver in the game, lining up as a wide-out, acting as a decoy while wildcat quarterback Mohamed Sanu soared a 73 yard touchdown pass into the waiting arms of A.J. Green. Andy Dalton is a team player and one who making big waves for an unlikely team in the AFC North.
Moving forward, this young kid from TCU is eventually going to be a superstar in the NFL. With the Bengals taking on the struggling Jaguars this upcoming week, a lot of folks are expecting a big game from Dalton. So far this year, Daltonís numbers have been through the roof. After just three weeks, Dalton is completing 68 percent of his passes, throwing of 867 yards, 6 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Numbers donít lie and Daltonís numbers thus far are very impressive.
So, does Andy Dalton deserve your respect? In all retrospect, Dalton is continuing to prove why heís a starting quarterback; a solid leader of a Bengals team that has lacked one for some time, while guiding them to a winning record. Dalton isnít a selfish guy, heís a teammate that will do whatever it takes to help the Bengals succeed and so far my respect is through†the roof for this guy. Weíll see what the Red Rifle can continue to do for Cincy the rest of the season. But above everything else, respect the man for what he is doing in a town that desperately needs a spark.