Posted by Will Brinson
Andy Dalton took his first in-game snaps as an NFL quarterback on Friday night, and things did not go as well as Ryan and I predicted they might in our recent AFC North preview.
In fact, they went quite poorly -- Dalton (under)threw a terrible interception on his first pass of the night, managed to have Ndamukong Suh -- literally -- pop his helmet off, and generally looked lost despite finishing with an 11-for-15 line that produced 69 yards.
But, hey, Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said it wasn't a "total debacle" for the rook!
"The game wasn’t a total debacle on his part," Gruden said, per Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "He can get better as can everyone else. The good thing is there isn’t anyone that can say 'Hey, I'm awesome.' Everybody can say they have a lot of improvement to do."
Gruden also pointed out that Cincy's offense "has a long way to go" and pointed to the early interception as the team trying "to take a shot to A.J. [Green]" only to have Suh storm up the middle and pressure Dalton.
Said pressure might have been mitigated by waiting a little while for said shot, but, hey, whatever. He's the boss. (Well, not the boss. The boss is the guy who refuses to trade Carson Palmer and try to help Dalton down the line. But you get the point.)
And it's the first preseason game for the Bengals in a shortened year, and the first start in Dalton's career. So the "everyone has lots of improvement" argument does hold some water.
However, when you start throwing around the phrase "wasn't a total debacle" it makes you kind of sound like General Custer's publicist or something.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.