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Bengals OC: I've got to get Andy Dalton over hump

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Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson knows that Cincinnati needs much more from quarterback Andy Dalton to avoid another January collapse.

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"I'll be the first to tell all of you that I don't think I did a good enough job of getting him to where I think he needs to be," Jackson said this week at the NFL Scouting Combine, per The Cincinnati Enquirer. "That's one of my biggest responsibilities in my mind this upcoming year. He played well at times. There were times where there was inconsistency, and I've got to get him over that hump."

The Bengals have been resolute in their commitment to Dalton, but his 17 interceptions and skittish play down the stretch hurt the team. Cincy was banged-up come playoff time, but Dalton saved his worst for last in a disastrous postseason loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Jackson, though, says the frequent criticism of his quarterback comes partly from misunderstanding the journey of a young signal-caller.

"Anybody who understands sports and who understands what these men go through, it's not as cut and dry as people think it is," Jackson said. "He is close. He played better in this past playoff game even though he didn't have every weapon that he could at his disposal. I do believe he played better. But he understands that in order for us to take the next jump, he has to play as good as he's ever played."

We trust Jackson as one of the game's finest play-callers, but we don't trust Dalton to suddenly bloom into a premier arm. His ceiling hasn't changed since his rookie campaign, with Dalton still making the same on-field mistakes that have plagued him from the start. The Bengals would be wise to draft and import competition at the position if they're serious about changing their fate.

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