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NFL Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals: Andy Dalton — Franchise or Bust in 2013

Andy Dalton

Troy Taormina – USA TODAY Sports

2013 is the year that Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton must prove that he is the future of the franchise. 2013 is the year that Dalton must prove to his team and all of his critics that he has what it takes to lead the Bengals to the Super Bowl, and that he’s not just a season-to-season quarterback.

The Issues

So far, Dalton has been able to show that he is a decent quarterback, throwing for 7,067 yards and 47 touchdowns while leading the Bengals to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. Seven of the 10 wins that the Bengals had last season came quite convincingly, with Dalton throwing for 18 touchdowns during those games.

These games showed that he has what it takes to bring the team to great wins; though, each of the six losses came by more than a two-score difference, still giving the Bengals some cause for concern. Dalton’s leadership skills have been able to lead the team when times are good, but his inexperience has been seen during there losses, not being able to lead the team to comebacks or even to within a score of the winning team.

That has been evident in the playoffs, with Dalton and the Bengals losing both times to the Houston Texans and being unable to bring a proper game to the Texans defense in the process. This is where most of the concern for his future lies.

Over the past two postseasons, it has seemed as though the big stage has been too much for Dalton and although the Bengals are hoping that 2013 will be different, it seems as though they have begun to prepare for the worst.

The Bengals have attended pro days for several top quarterback prospects in the last month, including Syracuse‘s Ryan Nassib and Miami University‘s Zac Dysert. It seems that they are interested in drafting a quarterback in one of their earlier rounds, helping with the assumption that this could be the make-or-break year for Dalton.

The Future of the Franchise

In order for the Bengals to continue their winning seasons of recent times and move past the wild card game this season, the Bengals need to help Dalton out. Although a lot of the pressure rests on his shoulders, no man is an island.

Next season, the Bengals need an increased role for one of the team’s top receivers last season. They will also need to bolster their running game, as the Bengals need the option where possible. Although BenJarvus Green-Ellis is an excellent work horse, the offense needs the creativity of the likes of Alabama running back Eddie Lacy in order to help Dalton carry the team to the Super Bowl.

As long as the Bengals can strengthen the offense around their quarterback, he will surely be the franchise quarterback of the future.

Simon Greene – Cincinnati Bengals Writer. Follow Simon on Twitter @simongreene88