Andy Dalton has come under a lot of (due) criticism over the past few days, after he once again choked away the Cincinnati Bengals’ playoff hopes. With tons of questions about the Bengals future at quarterback, it’s no surprise that team owner Mike Brown‘s desire for a pair of quarterbacks not named Dalton during the 2011 draft has conveniently sprouted up.
Brown was high on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the draft, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. A quick look back to the archives of that draft show that Brown was also more interested in New England Patriots backup Ryan Mallett than Dalton at the time, according to a Pro Football Talk post published in 2011.
While Brown contemplated the pick, he got into a debate with then first-year offensive coordinator Jay Gruden about which quarterback the Bengals should select with the 35th overall pick. Gruden was adamant that Dalton was the most “NFL ready” and the best quarterback for the offense he wanted to run. Brown eventually relented on his desire for a different quarterback, taking Dalton at 35 — one spot ahead of where the 49ers snagged Kaepernick.
The results haven’t been terrible in Cincinnati under Dalton. The Bengals went from a 4-12 team to a 9-7 one during his rookie season, and they have now won 30 games during his three seasons in the league. He’s put up impressive regular-season numbers, throwing for 11,363 yards, 80 touchdowns and 49 interceptions during his career, but he continues to struggle in the playoffs.
The Bengals were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the third consecutive season on Sunday, with Dalton once again giving the game away. Dalton threw two interceptions and turned the ball over three times in the 27-10 blowout loss to the San Diego Chargers. He now has thrown six interceptions and just one touchdown in three career postseason games.
Whether Brown believes Dalton is the answer or not, head coach Marvin Lewis committed to Dalton as his quarterback on Monday, all but assuring that the 26-year-old will be the starter when camp breaks again next season. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if Brown hedges his bets and goes after a quarterback in one of the early rounds of this year’s draft.