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Steelers' Clark praises 'great moxie' of Bengals' rookie Dalton

Rookie quarterbacks have fared miserably against Dick LeBeau's Pittsburgh defense.

Former Ravens quarterback Troy Smith is the last rookie to beat the Steelers, back in 2007. Joe Flacco couldn't do it. Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy and Blaine Gabbert sure couldn't do it.

In walks Andy Dalton, who has the 6-2 Bengals tied for first with Baltimore in the AFC North. Players on the 6-3 Steelers, including safety Ryan Clark, aren't taking Dalton (known around these parts as "The Glowing Ginger Man") lightly.

"He has great moxie for a young quarterback and he's doing an extremely good job for those guys," Clark told The Cincinnati Enquirer this week.

Dalton's excelled in Jay Gruden's offense, coached up in a way that's stressed the youngster's strengths. Last year, Carson Palmer presided over a minor disaster in Cincy, but Clark said it's too early to compare the quarterbacks -- still, the rookie is mowing down opponents, so what else matters?

"They're a better team than they were last year, which is obvious by the record," Clark said. "Whether it's all Andy Dalton, I don't know. But they're winning football games with this guy being their leader and with this guy being at the helm. So you just have to look at what he's doing in the present and take Andy Dalton as Andy Dalton. You can't compare him to quarterbacks of the past."

That's how Clark feels, but try telling that to Bengals fans if the red-topped Dalton knocks off the Steelers on Sunday

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