Has Anyone Exceeded Expectations as Much as Andy Dalton?

Aaron McKinneyCorrespondent IIIOctober 17, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 09:  Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the the Cincinnati Bengals looks to pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars October 9, 2011 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. The Bengals won 30 - 20. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Carson who? Okay, so Andy Dalton will probably never be mistaken for Carson Palmer, but he's definitely giving the Bengals reason for optimism.

If you asked me before the season started if the Bengals would look at Andrew Luck as a possibility, I'd have said yes. Even with newly drafted Andy Dalton? Yes.

Okay, so maybe we're wrong. Andy Dalton is looking more and more like the answer in Cincinnati. Is Dalton going to give you a "wow factor"? Probably not, but this guy is showing so much poise, feel, and accuracy in the pocket and is winning with the Bengals.

Lets be honest, he's not in as bad of a situation as somebody like Blaine Gabbert or even Cam Newton, but he seems to have "it".

After I saw his stat line, 25-32 for 264 yards and one touchdown, I really started to think there may be something special. We knew Gabbert had the arm and Newton had the athleticism, but Dalton was always considered a fringe first rounder and more likely a second rounder.

Now he has his team at 4-2 and looking at the possibility, albeit not likely, but the chance at a wild card spot. They are in the AFC North and have to jump both Baltimore and Pittsburgh to win the division, so lets temper those expectations just a bit.

Back to Dalton, though. I was trying to think of a quarterback, in my time, that he resembles the most. After really thinking I came up with Joe Montana, Phil Simms, and Chad Pennington.

Take Simms first. Their dimensions are almost exact. And aside from Bill Parcells jumping on Simms in the first round, Bill Walsh was going to take him in the third and liked him more than the eventual player he took, Joe Montana. They both seem to have the same leadership qualities.

Another player that comes to mind is Chad Pennington. Again, almost exactly the same size and both seem to have a sharp football acumen and solid leadership. Another thing these players have in common is a lack of a big NFL arm.

The last player that Dalton resembles is Joe Montana. Let's face it. The lack of a big NFL arm never hurt guys like Simms, Pennington, and especially Montana. 

So why not start believing in this guy. He has the intangibles to combine with at least decent athleticism. Add a solid offensive line and a very good set of weapons that includes A.J. Green, Cedric Benson, and Jermaine Gresham and maybe the Bengals found a guy they can count on for a solid career.