We attended the 2014 NFL on CBS Media Day at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City yesterday afternoon, speaking to many of the current CBS/NFL Network broadcasters and analysts.
Former Bengals, Jets and Cardinals left-handed quarterback Boomer Esiason took a few minutes to speak with us about a number of things, including his old Bengals team and what he thinks of franchise QB Andy Dalton and his playoff-filled first three seasons as Cincy’s signal caller:
“I think that the AFC North, in the AFC anyway, will be the toughest division. And those three teams (Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cincinnati) have a good chance of getting to the Super Bowl,” Esiason told the All-Out Blitz. ”
With quarterback Andy Dalton under center, the Bengals have made the postseason three consecutive seasons coming out of the AFC North, but have failed to win a playoff game during Dalton’s three-year career. During the regular season, he’s combined to post a 30-18 record with over 11,000 passing yards, 80 touchdowns and 49 interceptions, putting up a career QB rating of 85.7. But when it comes playoff time, Dalton and his supporting cast have been out-scored 77-33, and are 0-3 in the AFC Wild Card Round (against Houston twice, San Diego once).
When asked about whether or not he’s ever given Dalton any advice as a fellow Bengals QB, Esiason claims he has not: “he’s doing just fine. He’s done something no other Bengals quarterback has ever done (playoffs in three straight seasons). His numbers have gotten better each year. His percentages have gotten better each and every year. And this is the year where I think he can get to the next level. I’m saying a lot there, and he’s got to overcome guys like Joe Flacco, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. But I think they’re a team that has a lot of aspirations.”
He continued: “For them, I think a lot will depend on if they can overcome the loss of their two coordinators (Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer). I think they can probably overcome Gruden, because Hue Jackson (new OC) is going to be fine. It’s the defense, minus Mike Zimmer who left for Minnesota. He’s a terrific defensive coordinator. His players loved him, admired him, worked hard for him. He’s a no-nonsense guy. It’s going to be interesting to see if their defense can stay as good this year.”
I feel as he could be right about how losing their two great coordinators this past off-season could be difficult to overcome, but with veteran head coach Marvin Lewis still at the helm and a majority of pieces still in place, the Bengals will continue to fight with Baltimore and Pittsburgh for AFC North supremacy this season. Especially if Dalton improves once again in his fourth season under center for this talented Bengals’ offense.
*Video footage of our interview with Boomer Esiason should be hitting Youtube in the next day or so*
Photo: All-Out Blitz