Start or no start?

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on May 6, 2011 – 12:57 pm

It sounds more and more like the Bengals aren’t batting an eye about making Andy Dalton a rookie Opening Day quarterback. Which goes to show you when it comes to quarterbacks, like Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said after they picked him, they are in the eye of the beholder.

The indication is that one of the reasons the Bengals picked Dalton last week is because they felt he was closer to NFL ready than the other guys they were considering. Now the Seahawks are admitting they considered him at No. 25 in the first round before opting for Alabama’s James Carpenter, a guy they think can help them right away.

Via Seahawks general manager John Schneider told 710 ESPN radio, “I think we all felt like we were at a point in our development where we couldn’t pass on a starting tackle right now. Quite honestly, we’d like to have a (QB), especially a rookie, be more of a developmental type and a guy more like Aaron Rodgers and sit for a year or two. So that was really the only point in the draft where there was a guy where we were like, ‘There he is, that’s a very viable option.’ ”

The question facing the Bengals is what kind of caliber free agent can they get with a quarterback of the future already in place? And, this isn’t exactly the same scenario when Carson Palmer was drafted in 2003 and they developed him for a year behind Jon Kitna.

Kitna had already started 33 games in offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski’s system. This time, the veteran and the rookie would be learning the same system at the same time. That levels the playing field for Dalton (it already sounds like Gruden had a Dalton-type guy in mind) and if he plays now, that means he’ll be getting the growing pains out of the way earlier than Palmer did, when they put up an 8-8 the first year he played.

That said, if it is a shortened training camp, the veteran could be a nice bridge in what could be a very weird first month of the season.

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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 32 Comments »

32 Responses to “Start or no start?”

  1. By 34inXXIII on May 6, 2011 | Reply

    I have long been a member of the “sit a rookie QB” camp. In fact, I can’t remember ever stating that I feel a rookie QB should start right away in his rookie year. Andy Dalton should start right away in his rookie year. It could just the “Palmer fatigue” talking, but something over the last week has made me a sincere believer in the soon-to-be TCU alumnus. Maybe it’s his demeanor and maturity. It might be the weapons at his disposal with Green, Simpson, Shipley, Gresham, Scott and possibly Benson & Ochocinco. Most likely, it’s the enthusiasm of Jay Gruden and his own belief in Dalton. Sure, there will be growing pains for this offense, particularly for Gruden and Dalton. No doubt, those growing pains will be felt by us, the fans. Let’s be honest, though. Is there a pain that we, as Bengals fans, haven’t endured? If our collective pain translates to the offense’s collective growth, then I’m willing to try to endure to see them eventually persevere. The one aspect of all of this that does concern me is the lockout and a late, abbreviated preseason. However, there is a feature to our schedule that alleviates some of that concern: no Steelers and no Ravens until November. That’s not to say all the other defenses that precede the perennial AFC North powers are pushovers, but the (up to) 8 opponents the rook will face in the first half of the season will at least afford him the opportunity to build up to the beasts. So, let the Dalton era begin!

  2. By atn1980 on May 6, 2011 | Reply

    I have to agree with the past post… I’m firmly in the camp that almost every QB should sit and learn how to be an NFL QB before ever taking a snap. With that said, if we pound the rock like we did in 09 we could survive with a rookie QB IMO. My issue with running the ball is that I thought Benson lost a step last year. I’m sure the O-line troubles and shaky play on defense didn’t help him… But… I love Benson, I love his running style, I love the way he only gets better with more carries, and I love the fact he can catch the ball out of the back field (screens in the west coast offense against the Ravens and Steelers blitz is going to be fun) but first he’s got to resign and then I hope he doesn’t get complacent… Otherwise I don’t see why we can’t be just as good as 09.

  3. By tcrouse78 on May 6, 2011 | Reply

    Ideally, Palmer will make his return back to develop this kid. Dalton is a winner, and showed that in his time at TCU. Why not be developed by another Rose Bowl, and Heisman trophy winning quarterback that we still have under contract? Hopefully Carson will come to his senses, and return to do the job he was hired to do. Whether or not he has the grit, intestinal fortitude, or throwing arm that he used to, his ability to read defenses and his calm demeanor and poise on the field is something to be spoken for. He would be an ideal mentor for a kid like Dalton. However, this cannot be done without a boost to the running game – all options need to be looked at when considering free agents, depending on the new CBA… Deangelo Williams, Willis Magahee, and Ronnie Brown would all be worth looking at while attempting to resign Ced… or what if we really went AFC North smashmouth football and picked up McClain or Leach to pave the way for one of these guys? Either way, Carson/Dalton would benefit through less touches and shorter games…

  4. By pacomomogoose on May 6, 2011 | Reply

    “Palmer fatigue” at an all-time high…. ready to move forward with Dalton, win, lose or draw.

  5. By pacomomogoose on May 6, 2011 | Reply

    I should also say that it’ll be fun to cheer for #14 again!

  6. By bengaldom on May 6, 2011 | Reply

    to tell you the truth, I have never been this happy n excited to be a Bengals’ fan in a long time, considering the many losing seasons we fans have learnt to endure. I am also happy that we have very educated and learned fans of Bengaldom as depicted by the gentlemen/women above me, wow you guys articulate really well. You guys said everything I would have said and kudos guys. Here is hoping we get things right this year, and I hope Dalton doesn’t get thrown into the fire and asked to make each and every throw. I believe in slow and steady, let the rook get a feel for the game whatever happens WHO DEY!

  7. By 2ndboot on May 6, 2011 | Reply

    I’m kind of worried about that first preseason game if Dalton starts and plays with those two LIONS the Lions have at DT.. That’s gonna be one real formidable line and one I’m not to sure I would want my rookie QB facing in his first pro game.. After that and IF he survives them I think he’ll be OK if they don’t shake him up or break his legs thumping him to the turf like a rag doll..

  8. By kaptkurt on May 7, 2011 | Reply

    I agree we need to start him as a rookie but it scares the stripes off me. I want to get the growing pains out of the way sooner rather than later and we start off with some pretty horrendous defenses this year. I just don’t want to ruin a QB in the process. Last year, Clausen was the “most NFL ready QB in the draft and look what happened to him. I don’t want to be commenting about how great it is to have Andrew Luck as our new QB a year from now. Hope the coaches get it right,

  9. By mwindle1973 on May 7, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t even know how to discuss this at this point. I think the some of Bengaldom needs to come down off the draft high, and look at some hard facts. One when we see him in a preseason game, only then will we have the slightest clue whether he’s ready to start. I like Dalton, but I don’t like rookies QBs starting. And I think it is slightly unsettling to me that we picked the guy that could help us most now. We should’ve picked the guy that’s going to be the best NFL QB in 4-6 years. Rookies are never ready to start. You have to shrink the playbook for them, change strategy and a lot of other things just to make it work. Let’s just hope Palmer & Brown can strike a compromise and Palmer comes back for a season while Dalton learns the NFL game.

  10. By mwindle1973 on May 7, 2011 | Reply

    Does anyone think Jordan Palmer has a shot to start at least early in the season? I’m not ruling it out. It does seem unlikley. But the team seems to respond to his leadership. And the switch to the WCO will really help him. As his deep accuracy has always been the big issue with him. In Brat’s offense deep accuracy was the most important quality about the QB. And right now he’s the only QB with a playbook.

  11. By 2ndboot on May 7, 2011 | Reply

    I kind of wonder about the game of chicken Palmer and Mikey are playing..Mikey is more or less saying if you don’t want to play for us then fine..Play for nobody. We have Dalton now and he’s not going to be a bench decoration either way.. If Palmer retires by the time his contract is up he’ll have been out of football for some time and it’s doubtful a team would take him after that time unless he’s been firing footballs to someone pretending to be a QB enough to impress even the most ardent OC’s being skeptical of him..and if he retires it’s just be that he retired.. I liked Palmer, but when he said he’ll never play in PBS again I kind of lost a bunch of respect not because of who he is, but because I’m a Bengal fan.

  12. By hobsonschoice1 on May 9, 2011 | Reply

    I’m not a big fan of starting a rookie QB. I’d hate to take an automatic 3-13. The only upside is more can be expected in ’12 instead of waiting until ’13. If he’s not in shell shock.

    But if you treat him like a rookie, OK, talk me into it.

    Roethlisberger and Flacco were rookie playoff QBs because they played with top five defenses and offenses that continually pounded the ball in the running game no matter what.

    A lot of these same guys played on a Bengals defense that finished fifth two years ago and Benson proved in ’09 he can be the bell cow for a division winner relying on the run. And you’d think the Bengals have better skill players than Ben had in ’04 and Flacco in ’08.

    But the key is offensive coordinator Jay Gruden tailoring the system for what Dalton can do and not letting him do too much of it early on. He and his brother had plenty of practice (and success) with this formula in Tampa Bay.

    So, yeah, maybe you can talk me into it. Given that the free-agent pickings are going to be slim with a second-round QB in the house and that everyone is learning the scheme at the same time, Dalton sounds like he could be the best option anyway.

    But if they have something like a 23-day preseason, I’d sure like to see more experience than the 15 NFL passes currently on the roster.

  13. By overthroensamoan on May 9, 2011 | Reply

    I would give the kid a shot if and only if the OL is retooled. Boling will help but A Smiths T spot is still a mess. No way you start Dalton with the OL as it currently sets. If they sign Benson bring in a legit T and move Smith to G I say turn the rookie loose. Let’s face it just how many more wins are you going to get by bringing in someone like M Bulger.

  14. By mwindle1973 on May 10, 2011 | Reply

    overthroensamoan: Marc Bulger or someone similar in age and talent would be ideal as an inusrance policy. I agree no way you start Dalton with this Oline. I am high on Dalton’s possibilities too. But a lot of this excitemet is because he is new. I know there are several “experts” who were or weren’t sold on him. Some say he can start day 1, and some say he can never be a quality NFL starting QB. I agree with them all that we won’t even have a clue until preseason. I still that only shows you so much. Putting him out there to get beat up or lose consistantly may ruin him. It’s ruined other good propescts in the past. To me QB is way over-rated. Yeah I know you need a franchise QB to win it all. But having one only produced 2 playoff loses for us.

  15. By mwindle1973 on May 10, 2011 | Reply

    Hobs on the roster questions. I think you are going to see a change in the roster makeup by position. I don’t know if we keep 2 FBs, but I know in the WCO you have to have one. I’d bet we keep 5 RBs total. At ROT, I know your a Collins supporter, and have lots of good stats on him. I say they are coincidence. I often rewatch games, looking at things like…COllins for instance. Just find a game from last year he played, even his best. He makes too many mistakes, and his technique has not improved over time. He’s lacks the strength to play ROT, and his technique makes him weak on the bull rush. Guys just run him over sometimes. At LOT he could work, yet lacks some of the lateral movement needed. But I think we have an elite LOT anyway. We need an answer (a vet perhaps) at ROT, but we have to keep Smith, and we need a backup LOT. It’s not easy without keeping 9 olineman.

  16. By overthroensamoan on May 10, 2011 | Reply

    windle: My point is if you upgrade the OL just how many more wins will someone like Bulger get you over the rookie. If you bring in a retread QB and make him the starter how is that helping Dalton. This idea of watching for a year makes you a better player is total nonsense. Manning, Marino, Tarkenton, Namath and don’t forget Greg Cook all played alot as rookies and each were very productive. As you said Palmer watched for a year and all Marvin got was 2 playoff loses. I reiterate if the OL is upgraded let the kid play. Will he struggle? You bet. Can he be as successful as Freeman and Bradford was? I say absolutely.

  17. By sapon1 on May 11, 2011 | Reply

    I’m all for throwing Dalton into the fire from week 1. Would be good to have a veteran backup though (I like Bulger just because of his experience in the Mike Martz version of west coast). Beefing up the O Line is vital to the health of Dalton and success of team. We need two new Guards in starting lineup and a RT in the wings for the BIG BUST from Alabama (any bets on how long it takes for him to go down with another season ending foot injury???). Listening to Marvin answer questions about Chad tells me Mike Brown is still strategically positioned to seize defeat from the jaws of victory. My expectation for 2011 are set low. Carson will be looking like a genius by week 8.

  18. By mwindle1973 on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    overthoensomaon: I got your point, but do you really think an Oline overhaul is going to happen for this season? I’m all for it. But how do we do it? The draft is over. I mean if you look at what is different about this offense than ’05 when it was so successful. It’s simple. We lost TJ, Big Willie, Steinbach, Braham, Jeremi Johnson & Chris Henry. And Reggie Kelley is about 75% of the blocker he was before he lost a season and came back. TJ is still not replaced, Neither is Big Willie. We have a revolving cast year after year to fill those positions. Kyle Cook is average at best. Shipley is a good slot WR, but have we ever replaced Henry’s big play and red zone abilities? And at FB we just seemed to say, oh well who needs one. Based on all this, I don’t think a new OC, and rookies at WR and QB are going to solve our Oline problems. And it’s a little late to solve them now. At most we can hope to upgrade one Oline position in free agency. And that is doubtful. We have other needs to fill too.

  19. By mwindle1973 on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    Also Freeman and Bradford seem like good youg QBs, but they still have a lot to prove. I would hope that if we are pinning the franchise on Dalton, we hopes he becomes more than Bradford and Freeman promise to be. The Rams are running a spread offense in the NFL, which is the biggest reason they had a losing record last season. To me these 2, and Sanchez and Flacco, are average QBs. They are considered stars because they exist at a time when the QB talent pool is like the pitching talent pool in baseball during the 90’s. If this was 1991 instead of 2011, I don’t think all 4 of these guys would be starting, let alone be considered the best young QBs in the game. One has to wonder if forcing these young men into college to play for free, and learn a game that doesn’t exist at the next level is good for anyone except the NCAA’s finances. Would some of these guys have been better served to be able to go straight to the NFL and sit for 2 -3 years while learning the “real” game, and making money?

  20. By mwindle1973 on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    Can we at least wait until the kid gets a playbook before he’s crowned savior of the franchise? I’ll repeat, I’m hopeful about Dalton, but very cautious. I’m not going to pretend that because we drafted him he suddenly is a sure thing. Every team that drafts a QB believes the guy can play. But the NFL is wrong on QBs more than they are right. I just can’t see speculating on whether he will start this season. We don’t even know there will be a season. Dalton is at a huge disadvantage with the lockout in place. Everyday it goes on the less the chance of him starting day 1. I’m still just trying to speculate on how effective an NFL QB he will be. And the biggest question on my mind still remains Palmer. I’m just praying that when lockout lifts and Gruden goes to ahve his talk with Palmer, that he can talk him back. I speculate Dalton will be a lot better NFL QB if he has 1-3 seasons to earn his job.

  21. By overthroensamoan on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    windle: Why can’t the OL be fixed this season. I feel the line is a legit RT away from being vastly improved. You move A Smith to G and go sign Clabo or Light to man that T spot and all of a sudden your OL is fixed. Unlike you I don’t see all the holes needing filled. Safety must be addressed,it’s looking like JJoe will be back and sounding like Benson wants to come back. I feel this team is much closer than people think. I agree we lost alot when Braham and Willie left but good grief that was 6 years ago it’s time to move on. Plus you’ve now got a bright new OC who wasn’t born during the Eisenhower administration. I’ve seen and read some of your many posts and I know on several occassions you have listed how over rated the QB spot is. If that’s the case Dalton would make much more sense than a one year rental

  22. By tcrouse78 on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    I will tell you that the o-line of ours is severely underrated, especially when it comes to run blocking. The biggest issue in my mind is whether or not Ced will fumble seven times again this year during crucial momentum changing moments of the game. The best way for us to enhance our blocking situation would be to sign a legitimate FB, something we have not had since Jeremi Johnson. Our talent level at slot WR and tight end sit very well in the new west coast offense, so if we bolster the running game in that way, we will see alot of man to man coverage on the outside. The best way to protect a rookie quarterback will be to have a hard nosed, non-fumbling running game.

  23. By theredbengal on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    Here are some O-line stats from 2010.
    -28 sacks allowed: tied for 24th lowest allowed in the league
    -73 qb hits
    -3.6 yds/carry
    -590 pass attempts, tied for 5th in the league
    So, the protection was pretty good, considering they had the 5th highest pass attempts and gave up the 24th lowest sacks. But, the run game was very bad, especially when factoring in that they averaged 4.2+ yds per carry in ’09. That’s an incredible difference. Yet, you gotta figure that since it was the same guys that succeeded in run blocking two years ago, and pass blocking last year, that they should be able to get the job done in both areas this year.

  24. By mwindle1973 on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    overthroensomoan: I mainly think the vet QB needs to be there for insurance. And in case we need him to fill that spot for a few games until Dalton is farther along understanding the offense. I think the Oline needs some more work than just ROT. LG is a trouble spot on the pass rush. Boling will move to that spot, but when? Cook is still weak with some 3-4 NTs.Smith to G is the real problem though. We tried that last season. Lewis said it was more for training camp reasons, basically to get him more snaps. He left open the possibility, but said they like guys who can pull and get to the second level at G. Then they moved him back to ROT when he got in shape. If he’s in shape, I think we are good to go at ROT. BUt he’s likely 350+ right now. Smith doesn’t have to change positions to do that just be in shape when he shows up. If he is then no issues at ROT. I’m assuming he might not though. And how do we pay him and a big money ROT?

  25. By mwindle1973 on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    The NFL has accounted for every “single penny of revenue.” But only in a aggregrate or general way. Kind of like how your phone bill summary does. The players want to see the proof of “increased costs in operations.” That is located in team by team breakdowns of revenue. Now this part is just my opinion (and the players). This info will show no lose in revenue. Instead it will show that small markets are losing revenue %-wise, and big markets are gaining it. The NFL doesn’t want to acknowledge the revenue sharing issue that Mike Brown and Ralph WIlson say is there. And the players certainly don’t want to finance it based on propaganda. It will also show that owner’s want to deduct expenses like Jerry Jones’ 1B+ stadium costs from revenues before they are split up. IMO Goodell is not half the commish that Taglibue was. He has no real influence over the owners. Instead he appears to be little more than a mouthpiece.

  26. By bengalpirate on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    The key for me in starting Dalton as a rookie, is whether or not our defense can play at a level equal to, or greater than what they did in 2009. Add a strong running game that pounds it all day long and the pressure on a rookie QB is greatly reduced. In a perfect world, Carson returns for at least a “Boomer Bridge” year, but we still work Dalton into the mix to get him some seasoning. I still wonder how things might have played out, if Carson had started his rookie year instead of Kitna. If Carson does not come back, I will miss his professionalism, but hope we can provide a scenario where a dominant defense and running game give Dalton a chance to grow into his role as the Bengals QB of now and in the future.

  27. By overthroensamoan on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    windle: I agree a vet QB as insurance only. If A Smith is deemed athletic enough to block speed rushers off the edge surely he’s quick enough to be able to pull and reach a second level. I think you would agree he’s just as athletic as B Williams. Let’s face it they missed on Smith as a starting T. When he was healthy he struggled with pass pro. If and when training camp starts he will show up at his usual 375 thats why it’s imperative they sign a legit free agent T. Cook has been blamed for getting blown up but many of those were missed assignments by N Livings. Cook is not Richie Braham but he’s a solid NFL C.

  28. By whodeysteve on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    I’m hoping Kenny Anderson does get in next years HOF class. Kenny Anderson and Anthony Munoz are the two best players in Bengals history. Then there is Ken Riley (Who of 27 players with 50 or more interceptions, is the only one never selected to a Pro Bowl) but that is another case for another time. I’m very glad Kenny is finally getting the respect he deserves. Kenny Anderson “The Quiet Noisemaker” as they use to call him is as accurate a passer as the NFL has ever seen.

  29. By backjudge on May 14, 2011 | Reply

    so then if Dalton starts, Andre Smith sits for the first half the season at least? If he can get healthy he might be the best run blocking option on the right side and I know with the new playbook that the playing field is somewhat leveled, however, his lack of game experience would make me nervous if I’m Jay Gruden. With Pittsburgh and Baltimore being top 5 defenses and Cleveland’s scheme being pretty complex even if they don’t have the same talent I just don’t see how you put Andre on the field much this year with Dalton under center. Pass blocking is not Smith’s strong suit and I have seen his football IQ and professionalism both questioned at different times. Three strikes and your out. A marginal pass blocker even at 100% who is coming off injury, struggling with the play book, and not watching a ton of film sounds to me like a head injury waiting to happen with a rookie QB who might hold the ball an extra half second too long like most rookie QB’s do. Andre Smith = bust?

  30. By mwindle1973 on May 15, 2011 | Reply

    theredbengal: Those are good stats. But you have to be careful looking at sacks allowed. If you have a vet like Palmer, he just isn’t going to take sacks. If you look at the 73 hits and 28 sacks alone, then he was hit 101 times out of 590 passes. That means he’s getting hit every 5 or so times when dropping back. Averaging 36 passes per game, that’s about 7 hits a game to your QB. THat’s not good. Then if you added in pressures and hurries, it would get worse. And we had a lot of pressures. While we didn’t give up a lot of sacks, and had a decent run avg, the olines performance if you watche it closely, left somethig to be desired. If you go to 2005, we are ranked #1 that year. I suspect that our line was middle of the road again in 2010. Great one play, terrible the next.

  31. By mwindle1973 on May 15, 2011 | Reply

    Here’s another popular stat being used to analyze Oline pass protection performance. Pass Blocking Productivity index. This one is much more complex and is experimental, and new so not as widely cited. Using this method. Andrew Whitworth was the 4th best LOT. Anthony Collins was the top ROT, Dennis Roland was the #3 ROT. I like to add too that Levi Jones was rated the second worst LOT. Evan Mathis rated 7th best amongst Gs. Eric Steinbach was rated 7th worst amongst Gs. Kyle Cook was rated the 7th worst C. I will say this is a very new, complex and experimental rating system. The one I linked above is the most widely accepted and cited rating system for pass protection.

  32. By kingbengal on Jul 14, 2011 | Reply

    OF course DALTON should START. THE BENGAL’S have a Solid O-LINE. They just NEED to make sure Benson don’t get away,and sign Lenorad and Finley So they would have a three headed monster at the RB position.And keep Scott as a back-up plan.With new/old Offensive back in play that run’s THE BALL 60% of the time,Behind the HUGE O-LINE DALTON will be Fine. Remember at T.C.U he love’s the short quick pass and the LONG BALL! and running the ball is CINCY’S strong suit. THEY did WIN THE A.F.C North when they pounded the ball!

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