Regarding Andy Dalton:
He's been better than I ever imagined he would be, but I'd caution that he's really close to the Coach Killing QB Zone. What does this mean?
I read a series of great tweets from a football guy on Twitter who was talking about how a team having an average QB is actually much worse than a team with a terrible QB. With a terrible QB, you know that you need an upgrade and are not unwilling to make a move/take a risk when needed.
With an average QB, you are always waiting for them "to break through." More often than not, that QB never "breaks through," meaning you have spent a lot of time/money on a QB who is nothing but average. Can you win a SB with an average QB? Sure, but it takes a pretty dominant team at every other position to do it. Your margin of error is much smaller.
I'm not saying that an average QB is worse than a terrible QB. Not one bit. But, for the goal of winning a Super Bowl, an average QB can kill you because you are less inclined to make a move to upgrade the position for fear that "it could be worse." It's tantamount to having a decent paying job, that you don't love or hate. You are less motivated to take a risk for something better because your current situation is "good enough."
I know this is an odd concept, but as soon as I started thinking about it in terms I can relate to (personal experience), I think it makes tremendous sense.
I agree with this logic 110%, but early last season Andy Dalton really did look like a lower-tier franchise QB. It didn't last and he regressed pretty badly in the second half of the year, but for a brief time, it looked like Cincy really had something on their hands. I see plenty of room for improvement with Dalton, whereas with Bradford I see a polished QB who is just thoroughly mediocre- the John Moffitt of QBs. Bradford is a weight around the Rams neck, and Dalton might be for his team as well, but Dalton is much better than I thought he'd be and until his late season slump he was on a very good career trajectory.