Bengals' Lewis: Rookie QB Dalton could start, Benson a priority

The Cincinnati Bengals' franchise quarterback, Carson Palmer, is demanding a trade and threatening to retire. His brother, backup quarterback Jordan, is organizing team workouts. The team's newest quarterback, second-round draft pick Andy Dalton, is determined to compete for the starting job.

Coach Marvin Lewistold the Bengals' official website Saturday that the team will mull its options at the position, but he is confident that Dalton could handle being under center next season.

"I don't think there's an exact need," Lewis said. "I feel really good about the guy we were able to draft. If he ends up being the starter as a rookie, I think he can do that."

While the quarterback quandary might be the first thing on fans' minds, Lewis is more concerned with re-signing free-agent running back Cedric Benson.

The Bengals are scheduled to start their offseason workout program Tuesday, depending on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling on a permanent stay of an injunction granted to the players in Minnesota to block the lockout.

If the stay is granted, Lewis said the coaches will begin game-planning without players.

"It's critical for us with a No. 1 pick at wide receiver (A.J. Green) and No. 2 pick at quarterback to use those OTA days when they're all here," Lewis said. "It will be critical for us this year."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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