More than any position in any sport, the quarterback of a football team needs to be a natural leader. He’s the face of the franchise, the heart of the offense, and takes all the blame and praises when blame or praises are due.
As a head coach, you want your quarterback to be able to rile his guys up at the times that they need it most. You want your quarterback to have the presence in the huddle of a Tom Brady approach the line of scrimmage like a Peyton Manning so your guys will be confident in the fact that he’ll step on the field and make plays. After yesterday’s practice, that’s what Marvin Lewis told www.Bengals.com he asked of his quarterback.
When asked if Dalton is playing with confidence, Lewis said, “We’re looking for our quarterback and our middle linebacker to take hold of our football team, and I think that’s important for us. I think both guys are such good people, that you’ve got to be a little bit of a (jerk). You do. That’s what these guys we’re talking about have. That’s part of it.”
The Bengals are heading into a huge match up with the Denver Broncos this weekend that could either put them at .500 or put them in a tough spot as they try and chase a playoff spot for the second straight year.
After winning three straight, the Bengals have struggled losing three consecutive games to the Dolphins, Browns and Steelers. In those three games, Dalton has thrown six interceptions and only five touchdowns. During the Bengals three game winning streak, they averaged nearly 30 points per game with Dalton throwing for 308 yards per game. In their three losses, those numbers have dropped to 18 ppg and 228 ypg.
Coach Lewis, knowing the losses haven’t just fallen on Dalton’s shoulders also wanted middle linebacker Rey Maualuga to step up and become a more vocal leader as well. Maualuga told Bengals.com that he welcomed the challenge.
“A quote that (Lewis) gave me … ‘The rate of the pack is determined by the speed of the leader,’ ” Maualuga said. “The quicker I get things going, the quicker I get things riled up, the more people buy into it. And the more we can get things going; I like the opportunity and the challenge.”
Maualuga defense surely be ready for the challenge come Sunday as they’ll be facing off against the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning, who has been trending upward in recent weeks. Manning has five consecutive games of 300+ passing yards and just earned AFC Offensive Player of the Month.
Marvin Lewis obviously has the confidence in these two or he wouldn’t have approached them about becoming better leaders on their respective side of the football. However, it was definitely time for something to be said as they’re currently a game under .500 and two games behind the first place Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North.