With the draft passing us by in a flash, we begin a long period of quiet. With the league in litigation hell and the lockout back on, Saturday's press conference might be the last we hear from Marvin Lewis for the time being.
Lewis took the time to reflect on what he believed was an exciting and successful draft for Cincinnati and commended the teamwork of his new coaches Gruden, Urban, etc.
Perhaps the most interesting tidbit, however, came when Coach Lewis was questioned as to whether the Bengals would pursue a veteran quarterback when free agency eventually rolls around, which the usually private Lewis openly admitted to considering.
'It will be something that we'll talk about...probably in the early part of next week, and try to put some plans one way or another," Lewis said.
However he went on to confirm his faith in second-round pick Andy Dalton as the team's starter if need be. "I don't think there's an exact need. I feel really good about the guy we were able to draft," Lewis said. "If he ends up being the starter as a rookie, I think he can do that.'
With backups Jordan Palmer and Dan LeFevour returning and the Palmer situation in ongoing turmoil, a veteran QB is something the Bengals will really have to consider going into this year.
The question Lewis & co. have to address is whether a veteran guy can come in and be that much more effective than Dalton. With both learning Jay Gruden's new system, will the older player be able to get into it quicker than Dalton and therefore be a more viable starter? This is something the Bengals need to look at in order to justify bringing someone in.
If they do decide to bring in a veteran, who fits the mold? Well, we can likely count out a return from Jon Kitna, who put in a good showing last year to give the Cowboys faith in keeping him as a backup, and despite some suggesting that the Bengals link makes him a likely candidate, I would argue that it does the opposite. Kitna has been one of many players to comment on a negative atmosphere within the organization, making his desire to return if asked doubtful.
Will the Bengals be so certain of the veteran need that they try to lure McNabb away from the circling Minnesota Vikings?
Well, from the attitude Lewis put forward in Saturday's press conference it seems unlikely that the Bengals would feel pressed to enter a bidding war with any team over a stop-gap quarterback, so we can likely cross McNabb off the list, unless of course former Eagles assistant coach James Urban goes to bat for him and the organization listens, however unlikely that may be.
So where else could the Bengals cast their line? Marc Bulger, who has been backup in Baltimore this past season, has been rumored to be in contention to bag the Cardinals starting job, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.
What about Kevin Kolb? Or even Kyle Orton? The likelihood is that with the amount of confidence Lewis has shown in Dalton, the Bengals wouldn't be able to justify bringing in either of these two QBs as their stock is still high along with their price tag, and yet again Arizona has been rumored to be interested in either/or.
The list goes on, with each journeyman on the list having just about as much likelihood of being in Cincinnati as the last.
So what is the verdict? Well, with the team in desperate need of fan excitement and a distinct lack of justifiable talent worth bringing in Marvin Lewis and the gang will likely go gung-ho with Andy Dalton. Without a QB firmly established in the franchise with a knowledge of the system, the wealth of knowledge one might be able to pass on to Dalton isn't as great as it would be if Palmer were there to guide him on all things Bengals.
Dalton is a smart football player and is by no means lazy, he will not be shy about obtaining advice from veterans in the game about the fundamentals of life in the NFL, and while he may struggle early on, it remains unlikely that bringing in a new guy will have an overtly significant impact on him.
Despite my rationalization of the Bengals' likely analysis of the situation and their subsequent decision, let's not forget that we are the Bengals after all, and Mike Brown could well be on the phone to Ryan Leaf right now with a lucrative $5 contract on the cards.
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