Andy Dalton still feels the sting from the Cincinnati Bengals’ 6-9-1 finish in 2016.
Not only did it keep the Bengals out of the playoffs for the first time since 2011, his rookie season with them, but it also was something the quarterback had never experienced as an athlete.
‘We need a bounce-back year’
“That was my first time to ever have a losing season in any sport that I’ve played,” Dalton told Solomon Wilcots and Takeo Spikes during the SiriusXM NFL Radio training camp tour stop at Bengals camp. “So it’s something that I definitely wasn’t used to and not used to, and hoping to change that. For us, we need a bounce-back year. … we want to get back to where we were, making the playoffs and be playing our best football at the end of the year.”
Dalton understands that there is a great deal of pressure on the Bengals, from coach Marvin Lewis on down. He also realizes that, entering his seventh NFL season, he no longer is seen as someone with great potential.
‘I’m not the young guy anymore’
He is viewed as a veteran who must deliver wins.
“For me, I think the big thing, this is the next part of my career where I’m not the young guy anymore,” Dalton said. “I’m a guy that’s been around. And being able to play in all the games that I’ve played in, to have the experience that I’ve had, it’s just that next step in my career, the next phase.
‘We’ve just got to make sure there’s a lot of communication’
“And, so, for us, we’ve just got to make sure there’s a lot of communication, make sure everybody’s on the same page and we’ve got to go out there and just have fun playing and then trust what we know, trust what we’ve done out here in practice and go make plays.”
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