It sounds like a couple of rookies are making Dick LeBeau work overtime.
Consider that the Steelers defensive coordinator made a comparison today between Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and Ben Roethlisberger. He also said the Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is “one of the better first-year receivers I’ve ever seen.”
At first blush this looks like the time-honored tradition of a coach laying it on thicker than Brett Keisel’s beard when it comes to the opposing team.
But the Bengals are 6-2, and not in spite of their first two picks of the 2011 draft.
Sure their defense has been one of the top ones in the league — Cincinnati has forced nine lost fumbles — and they added when they subtracted me-first wide receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco.
But make no mistake that Dalton and Green are also big reasons why the Bengals will take a five-game winning streak into a 1 p.m. game Sunday against the visiting Steelers.
Dalton, the 35th overall pick last April, has been anything but overwhelmed since stepping in for the departed Carson Palmer.
He has 12 touchdown passes, with three coming last week when he rallied the Bengals from a 10-point deficit to a 24-17 win over the Titans.
“Quick with the ball, athletic, getting better every week,” LeBeau said. “He’s very, very good out of the pocket, particularly going to his right. He’s a little like Ben. Something good usually happens for his team when he leaves the pocket.”
LeBeau had just as much praise for Green, who leads all rookie wide receivers in catches (40), receiving yards (599) and touchdown catches.
So did Ike Taylor, who could match up exclusively with Green at Paul Brown Stadium.
“Freak of nature, great ball skills,” Taylor said. “He’s their go-to guy.”
– Scott Brown