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Marvin Lewis: Andy Dalton's starting job is secure

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  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
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Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals couldn't have had a worse start to the 2017 season.

Through two weeks, and two home losses, Dalton's Bengals have failed to score a touchdown. Cincinnati is the first team since the 1939 Eagles to play the first two games of a season at home and score zero touchdowns in both games.

After Dalton threw four picks and took five sacks in a defeat to the Baltimore Ravens, the QB played safer football in Thursday night's 13-9 loss to the Texans, but struggled to locate and hit open receivers, move the offense and finish off their few positive drives with scores.

To many reporters and observers, Dalton hasn't looked like himself in this season's early-goings, or at least unlike the MVP candidate in 2015, who threw 25 touchdowns to only seven picks before suffering a season-ending injury.

Now the Bengals' starting quarterback of seven years is playing the poorest football of his professional career and having his job security called into question.

"No, I'm not worried about Andy," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said after the game, telling reporters that Dalton's starting job is secure.

"No, I don't think he's taken a step back," Lewis added. "I think we have to continue to let Andy do his thing. We've got to do things better around him all the time. Again, we're not good enough today. We didn't play good enough to win on offense and we gave up a play on defense that we can't give up. They didn't give a [49-yarder] today for a score and that's the difference in the game. Same thing as last week. You want to be dominant? Be dominant as the other side."

The other option in the Queen City is AJ McCarron. The longtime backup filled in for Dalton when he went down in 2015 and started Cincinnati's infamous wild-card loss to Pittsburgh.

Every offseason, McCarron has been rumored as potential trade bait for QB-needy also-rans, having demonstrated the ability to win football games and play with competence under center. But the Bengals have held onto McCarron, either to procure a better offer for him or to keep him as a rainy-day starter in case of a scenario like this one.

This campaign can get away from Cincy quickly; the 0-2 Bengals have to travel to Green Bay next week, while their undefeated division rivals, the Steelers and Ravens, have winnable games the next two Sundays. In a few weeks, if things don't change and the season is nearly lost, Lewis and Co. might sing a different tune and try a a possible season-changing switch from Dalton to McCarron.

For now, the Bengals will stick with their struggling starter in hopes that Dalton will finally connect with his playmakers, open up the running game and score at least one touchdown.

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