Can Andy Dalton lead the Chicago Bears to a playoff win?
To say that the Chicago Bears have been a trainwreck of a franchise these past 10 or so seasons would be a colossal understatement.
The last time that the Bears won a playoff game you might ask? It was a home win against the Seattle Seahawks. Jay Cutler was the Bears starting quarterback that day, and even more embarrassing, the Seahawks didn’t even have a winning record. Seattle entered the Divisional Round with an 8-9 record, with the 2010 Seahawks being a far cry from the 2005 team who finished one win shy of a Super Bowl victory.
Anyway, that Bears playoff win took place in January of 2011, over 10 years ago. Yikes, that’s awful.
If we count playoff wins against WINNING teams, the Bears haven’t won a dignified playoff game since the 2007 NFC Championship Game. So yeah, Chicago isn’t exactly known as a franchise known for recent-and-sustained success.
All of these facts are important to note when critiquing Ryan Pace’s latest disaster of a free agent pickup: Quarterback Andy Dalton.
After offering Seattle a ridiculous trade request of three first-round picks, a third-round draft pick, and two starting players for quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks responded with, “Thanks but no thanks.” It’s actually kind of crazy that Seahawks GM John Schneider would turn that down. Is any 1 player better than 6 players? I don’t think so, but apparently Schneider thinks that Russell Wilson will improve from some of his disastrous interceptions this past season.
Remember: Wilson was definitely prone to turnovers in 2020. In fact, during that lopsided defeat in the Wild Card round against the Rams, the former Super Bowl champion threw a pick six and completed less than 50% of his passes. By the way, that playoff defeat took place at home to a team they of course know very well. And yet Schneider would rather keep a 32-year-old signal caller over 6 potential impact players? It’s definitely a risk, especially since Wilson reportedly wants a change of scenery from the team who drafted him. There’s no guarantee that this relationship can be repaired between head coach Pete Carroll and Wilson.
But back to Pace and the signing of Andy Dalton. The signing makes sense, especially since Deshaun Watson is currently involved in a humongous legal mess. The legal mess comes from his own doing, and if it turns out to be nine total civil cases, this won’t be solved quickly. Draft picks are very valuable, and if Pace found out about this before the lawsuits hit the mainstream media, then all the power to him for not pursuing a blockbuster trade with the Houston Texans. Well, at least not trade for Watson until 1. The civil matters are resolved and 2. It’s been determined when Deshaun can return to football activities. Watson could very well be suspended from the NFL due to its very strict conduct policy.
I’m not a Ryan Pace fan by any means. But come on now: Who was Pace going to turn to if Watson is involved in a major litigation situation and the Seahawks won’t budge on their insane trade demands? There simply weren’t many “sexy QBs” available since Carolina looks to give Teddy Bridgewater another try at QB and Matt Ryan recently restructured his deal to stay in Atlanta.
In my opinion, any player is tradeable. The Seahawks are just hoping they can resolve the Wilson relationship, but it was reported by NFL Network that Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll “discussed the possibility of a Wilson mega deal.”
Another thing to keep in mind is the Seahawks need a bridge quarterback while they draft-and-groom one. Dalton could be part of another Bears trade request.
While not a Hall of Fame QB by any means, Dalton is a three-time Pro Bowler who helped lead the Bengals to the playoffs on several different occasions after Carson Palmer decided to not play another down for the team. Dalton isn’t necessarily that type of player anymore (His last three wins for the Cowboys came against teams with losing records), but he has an intriguing resume. He could have easily won the 2015 MVP Award if not for his broken right thumb in Week 14, and he had to play for a franchise that’s quite possibly the cheapest in the entire NFL.
If you don’t believe me, check out this article from RosterWatch.com. It’s very dated since the author wrote it in 2013, but some of the facts from it are very cringeworthy. For example, former Bengals cornerback Jonathan Joseph once went on the record and said the Bengals, “Make you have a roommate on road trips and put a limitation on how many Gatorades that you can take home.” Keep in mind that the Bengals also don’t practice at a privatized facility. They practice outdoors all season long unless the players and staff want to drive 25 miles to practice indoors at the University of Cincinnati’s indoor facility. The players are even known to complain about the Bengals’ messy facilities. When a grown man complains about a lack of cleanliness, you know that it has to be filthy.
I just bring up the Bengals to help you understand why young quarterbacks can have disastrous results when drafted by the “Bungles.” The team hasn’t won a playoff game since 1990, and once again, Carson Palmer would have rather retired than ever play another snap in Cincy. That’s horrendous to think about, and yet Dalton found some decent success in the AFC North division.
However, the 33-year-old version of Andy Dalton is nowhere near the 2015 MVP candidate that the Red Rocket was. Still, the Cowboys decided to bring him in as an emergency option in case Dak Prescott got hurt. Prescott got hurt, and the rest is history….Well, sort of. The Cowboys had a major offensive line problem and overall defensive liabilities with Dalton under center, but the ‘Boys still could have won the very weak NFC East division if Dalton was a little bit more consistent. Veteran backup quarterbacks are rather expensive, and with Prescott seemingly at 100% post-injury, the Cowboys let their costly backup QB walk in free agency.
So the title of this video is trying to answer the question, “Can Andy Dalton lead to a playoff win.” No, he can’t. Thanks for watching. Make sure to subscribe below and check out our website at SportsBroadcastSolutions.com.
Oh….you want me to do a deeper drive on why Andy Dalton isn’t the long-term answer at QB? Well, I can do that.
Since you’re here, let’s dig deeper on why Dalton is just the perfect mediocre answer at QB. Basically, Dalton is simply another Nick Foles placeholder for the position: Nothing more and nothing less.
If we go by Pro Football Focus, Dalton ranked 23rd among 32 qualified starting quarterbacks. Not great obviously, but what’s even more surprising is Jared Goff finished just two spots better than Dalton. If you’re wondering why the Rams were willing to dump multiple first-round picks, as well as a former Pro Bowler in Goff, that statistic from Pro Football Focus might give you a better idea.
Does Goff stink? No, I wouldn’t say that. Rather, Goff is simply a decent option at QB, with the potential for superstar performances if put in the right system. Sean McVay has completely changed the fortunes of the Rams for the better, and he should definitely get a lot of the credit. But still, bad quarterback play can always overwhelm a franchise, regardless of how good their defense or head coach is. Just look at how bad the Broncos have performed since Peyton Manning retired as a prime example of this.
In terms of Dalton, he wasn’t supposed to play last year. He was in a position where he pretty much had to play shootout football every week. The Cowboys defense in 2020 was quite possibly the franchise’s worst defensive effort, as the Dallas professional football team gave him a team-worst 473 points. And as you might’ve guessed, the Dallas defense also gave an absurd number of yards.
Dallas was so bad on defense that Dak Prescott threw for over 500 yards in a game against the Browns, and the Cowboys STILL lost by 11 points. Not only that, but everybody on the Browns dominated when attacking the Cowboys defensive front-seven. Some guy named D’Ernest Johnson almost gained 100 yards that day, and that’s really bad considering that Johnson only gained about 66 more yards the rest of the season!
So it’s hard to say that Ryan Pace panicked by picking up Andy Dalton. He reportedly tried his best to get Russell Wilson, and he failed. And quite honestly, the Bears might be thanking their lucky stars that they didn’t get Wilson. Trading three first-rounders for 1 player is always risky (Remember the Hershel Walker disastrous trade for the Minnesota Vikings?). But then again, Russell Wilson is arguably the second-best QB in the NFL. Pro Football Focus ranks Russell Wilson as the second-best overall QB since 2019….Andy Dalton is a meager 26th place.
But did the Bears even need Dalton? Well, it just depends on what the franchise needs more at the 20th overall pick: Left tackle or rookie QB. We at Sports Broadcast Solutions are pushing for the Bears to consider drafting Mac Jones at 20th overall, but we can understand if the Bears decide to go with protecting the quarterback’s blindside.
If the Bears go with left tackle at No. 20 overall, they probably need a better placeholder for the position if they have to go with a QB in the second round. As shown with former second-rounder Drew Brees, second-rounders can take time to flourish. And who else to help groom the future franchise cornerstone than a decont former second-rounder in Andy Dalton himself?
Also, Dalton has proven that he can help lead teams to the playoffs. Then again, he also had A.J. Green to throw the ball to in Cincinnati, and I’m not sure if Allen Robinson is in the same conversation with Green when A.J. was in his prime for the Bengals. Anyway, if 2020 proved anything to us, it showed why the Jaguars were so willing to move on from Nick Foles. Foles is simply a journeyman quarterback who’s better at avoiding turnovers than Ryan Fitzpatrick. Did you really think that Ryan Pace was going to go with Foles under center if Dalton was available at a fairly reasonable price?
So can Dalton lead the Bears to a playoff win? Well, the problem with that question is the Bears no longer have Kyle Fuller. Pace didn’t cut in order to fit Dalton’s contract, but he had to do it to make room for Robinson’s franchise tag. The good news is the Bears just need to finish as a 7-seed or better in a COVID-19 condensed practice schedule and quarantines. With the vaccine picking up steam in the United States of America, we could see less restrictions in terms of practice schedules and social distancing, but until that happens, expect the 2021 preseason to be similar to 2020. This just means that a 7-seed could realistically make the playoffs at 8-8 or 9-7, and as long as Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks are healthy, Dalton should be able to do enough to put his team in positions to win. Also, the NFL is still considering having 8 teams for the 2021 postseason, so 8-8 and the playoffs could become a reality for Bears fans.
As a stupidly optimistic Bears fan, I definitely think that Dalton could go on the road and win a playoff game in 2021. If you watched the Saints-Bears playoff game, you’ll notice that the game was very close for most of it. Mitch Trubisky couldn’t get the job done, which is a major reason why he didn’t get much free agent love. If you’re a Bills fan, you definitely don’t want to see Trubisky play unless it’s during garbage time. Even without Kyle Fuller at cornerback, the Bears still have enough on defense to give Dalton a reasonable chance to make timely throws and win games. However, this is assuming that Eddie Jackson is much better at open field tackling and doesn’t commit silly penalties at the most inopportune times.
So although I don’t EXPECT the Bears to win a playoff game in 2021, it’s definitely a possibility that it could happen. But what do you think? Does Dalton still have enough in the tank to help manage the Bears offense? Make sure to comment below and subscribe to Sports Broadcast Solutions.