Do the Bengals already have concerns about Andy Dalton?

Texas Christian University quarterback Andy Dalton celebrates after his 23 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Bart Johnson during first quarter of the 2011 Rose Bowl game in Pasadena on January 1, 2011. UPI/Jon SooHoo

Andy Dalton hasn’t taken one meaningful snap yet in his NFL career and already his team may have concerns about whether or not he can get the job done.

According to Yahoo Sports’ Jason Cole, the Bengals “leaked” their interest in Carson Palmer coming out of retirement because they’re concerned about Dalton starting as a rookie. But as points out, this might just be speculation on Cole’s part and they’re probably right. After all, what difference does it make if they “leak” out that they’re interested in Palmer? It would make more sense if they were being coy about situation because then it wouldn’t look bad on their part that they’re not showing faith in Dalton. How do the Bengals help themselves by “leaking” this information out? Cole’s report makes zero sense.

But let’s assume for a moment that part of Cole’s report makes sense and that the Bengals fear Dalton isn’t ready. My question is: What did they expect? Dalton was a fine college quarterback but he didn’t exactly face the toughest competition at TCU and there were questions about his arm strength heading into the draft. They knew Palmer didn’t want anything to do with coming back and they should have known that Dalton was going to be a major project. Thus, they should have had option B in place in case Dalton struggled in preseason. Vince Young was available earlier this offseason, as was Matt Hasselbeck and now so is David Garrard. There’s no guarantee that Young or Hasselbeck would have come to Cincinnati but as far as I know the Bengals never tried to pursue them either. If I were them, I’d jump on the phone with Garrard’s agent before a team like the Colts beats them to the punch.

But if Garrard isn’t in their plans then I say the Bengals mush on with Dalton. He’s a rookie and he’s going to have his ups and downs. But if he learns on the job then maybe next year he’ll be better. And maybe the year after that he’ll turn the Bengals into a contender assuming they add pieces around him.

Or maybe the guy will be a total bust and never live up to anything in the NFL. Either way, the Bengals took this risk and now they might as well show their full support in the kid. After all, it’s not like they’ve left themselves with better options.

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