Another Bengals offseason and another filled with quarterback discussions. The line in the sand about Andy Dalton has never been more defined among the fan base as it is now, given the new coaching regime that has taken power.
For years, the Bengals’ plan with Dalton was to constantly surround him with above-average-to-elite talent. While he himself has proven to play at an above-average level, it’s usually when the cabinet is stockpiled with weaponry. In fact, one of the main criticisms of Dalton is in his play being raised by that of others, instead of the opposite being more commonplace.
Back in 2015, the team had its zenith of talent on offense. Cincinnati’s offensive line was solid, while A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu parlayed their performances into big free agency paydays the following spring. Shortly after, Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth, the two best players on the offensive line, also bolted in free agency. Throw in an abject failure of a 2015 draft class and we can see where things have fallen off a cliff the past three seasons, in terms of wins and losses.
Dalton played admirably through personnel issues and eventual injuries in 2017-2018, but he hasn’t regained that near-MVP form of 2015. Essentially, the Bengals have done a disservice to their starting quarterback and have shied away from their blueprint from 2011-2014.
But, the past is in the past, right?
Well, not when you look at what some teams have done for their young signal-callers this offseason. The Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns immediately spring to mind.
The Browns have added Kareem Hunt and Odell Beckham, Jr. on offense, along with Olivier Vernon on defense. Yes, they lost Zeitler in the trade for Vernon, but Hunt and Beckham join 2018 offseason additions Nick Chubb and Jarvis Landry. In short, Baker Mayfield is one happy camper, as the Cleveland Browns are now the unanimous favorite to win the AFC North.
Josh Allen didn’t have as outstanding of a rookie year as Mayfield, but showed certain signs of promise. While weapons were limited last year, Buffalo has added the ageless Frank Gore, as well as Cole Beasley and former Bengals tight end, Tyler Kroft. It’s not as star-studded of a group as the one Cleveland landed, but the point stands in both club doing what they can in propping up their quarterbacks for future success.