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Bengals' Lewis on Dalton: 'I am glad he is on our team'

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In case you were wondering, Andy Dalton remains very much in the plans of the Cincinnati Bengals. At least, according to the head coach.

Marvin Lewis spoke optimistically of his embattled quarterback Monday, one day after the Bengals went one-and-done in the postseason for the fourth consecutive year with Dalton under center.

"I think that he continued to grow, which is great," Lewis said of Dalton's season. "I think that working with a new influence with (offensive coordinator) Hue (Jackson) and so forth and to see that relationship continue to grow forward. Andy had a lot of pressure on his plate coming into this season and he dealt with it and handled it. And he won another 10 football games.

"He continues to be very durable and resilient. I am glad he is on our team as we continue to move forward. And I'm looking forward to him even having his best season ever next season."

As a follow, Lewis was asked if he expected more from Dalton, who led to the Bengals to just 10 points against the Colts and finished the game averaging just 4.4 yards per attempt.

"We always want more from all of our players. That is staying within the moment though," he said. "That is part of the moment. We want to have less interceptions. I think that's true, and I think we all recognize that."

Lewis appeared to go out of his way to take Dalton off the hook for a game in which both A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham missed due to injury. Lewis even drew a comparison to Tom Brady, noting that the Patriots star struggled at points last year without some of his trusted targets.

"Yesterday I don't attribute as much to the quarterback as guys did not respond," he said. "I think the quarterback did what he could do to get it done."

That's probably not what frustrated Bengals fans want to hear right now. Lewis clearly sees Dalton in a way others don't -- as a young quarterback with room to grow rather than a four-year veteran who's already reached his ceiling.

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