Cincinnati Bengals: Andy Dalton Shouldn't Be Overshadowed by Cam Newton

Cian FaheyFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2011

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 02:  Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass during the NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Paul Brown Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Bengals won 23-20. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton will need to be the next Andrew Luck…that counts right?…. Okay, Peyton Manning if Mike Brown isn't going to look like an idiot for the way he has managed Carson Palmer.

Actually that is not true, Brown will look like an idiot either way for not trading Palmer.

The incredible performances of Andy Dalton so far, however, are somewhat reducing Bengals fans' ire with their owner. Dalton, a second-round pick, has started each of the first four games in his rookie season.

The former TCU product has led the Bengals to an unprecedented 2-2 record on the season. While the 23-year-old has had his struggles, as every rookie will, his poise and play on the field is not accurately reflected by his 76.9 quarterback rating.

That 76.9 isn't exactly horrible either considering that makes him the 14th best quarterback of those who have as many attempts as he does.

Cam Newton's blistering start to the season has eclipsed Dalton to an extent, but statistically he is not that far behind the first overall selection. Outside of yardage, 1,386 to 868, there is very little separating the two.

Furthermore, Newton is working in a much more talented offense than Dalton.

While Dalton's primary receiver, AJ Green, is incredibly talented, he is also a rookie. He does have a lot of talent around him as Jermaine Gresham gives him a big-bodied tight end, and Jerome Simpson has big play potential.

Dalton has lost Jordan Shipley, and Cedric Benson is expected to miss a few games once his suspension comes through this week.

However that should not unnerve the 6'2" pocket passer.

Dalton's poise and tranquility in the pocket is reminiscent of Colt McCoy of last season. He obviously isn't anywhere near as talented as Newton physically, but he does have a strong accurate arm with a good understanding of the game.

There is very little that Dalton doesn't seem to already understand, as he has transitioned well to the professional game. Playing behind a decent offensive line, he has only been sacked eight times.

He has thrown four interceptions but had over 30 attempts in both those games.

Dalton didn't start off like Newton with a huge day statistically but he followed up his debut with a 332-yard performance against the Denver Broncos with two touchdowns to zero interceptions.

Dalton had ratings over 100 in both of his first starts. He struggled somewhat facing off against better defenses against San Francisco and Buffalo, but still came out 1-1 including a game winning drive against the Bills.

He has already forged a strong bond with Green, as the receiver has put up 312 yards on 19 receptions with two touchdowns in his first four games.

The Cincinnati Bengals weren't expected to be competing for anything this year. The likelihood is that they won't be in contention later in the season. However their two losses have totaled a deficit of only seven points.

The Bengals are currently second in the AFC North tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns at 2-2. Many people weren't expecting the Bengals to win even two games this year, not least be at .500 after the first quarter of the season.

It is very early, and there is a long season ahead. However in the long-term, the Cincinnati Bengals offense looks to be in good hands.

The offense is full of youthful, raw talent that will be able to grow along with their leader under center. Should Mike Brown eventually do the right thing and trade Carson Palmer, Bengals fans won't have any reason to worry.

In fact, with the added reinforcements gained from Palmer's trade value and the aging Steelers within the division, the Bengals could be a team to watch over the coming years.

Newton may be stealing all the headlines right now, but Dalton is sitting at 2-2 while the No. 1-overall pick is 1-3.

Of course nothing is ever that simple, but don't overlook the fiery fox leading the Bengals.

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