In the NFL, it all comes down to the quarterback. The most important position in all of sports, you just can’t win without a good one.
And that’s the case for the Cincinnati Bengals this year. A talented young team ready to make the leap to being a true contender not just in the AFC North but the conference as a whole, the biggest question for them this year is whether or not Andy Dalton is truly a franchise quarterback.
Dalton, a second-round pick in 2011, has lived up to expectations so far. This year, however, those expectations are going to skyrocket.
No longer just a young quarterback with upside, he’ll be expected to be much more this year. Instead of just being the guy who doesn’t hold them back this year, he’ll be expected to be the guy to lead the team deep in the playoffs.
The good news for Dalton and the Bengals? Well, that would have to be all the pieces the team has put around him to facilitate that success. The team has good receivers, including All Pro A.J. Green, and added playmaking running back Giovani Bernard in this year’s draft.
The defense will be a bright spot for the Bengals this year too. Their defensive line is one of the best in the league — the linebackers are young and improving and the defensive backs are more than capable.
But in the end, it will all come down to Dalton. If the Bengals want to meet their goals this year, he will need to step forward and answer all the questions about his status as the franchise quarterback once and for all.