Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton participated in six plays in Friday's preseason-opening win over the Giants, but his comfort in the system was signaled by something he did in between snaps.
Dalton nixed one of the plays radioed into to him by offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, and got one more to his liking. Rather than being upset with the veto, Jackson sees it as another step in the quarterback's ascension to being a team leader.
"A lot of people say that's a negative," Jackson said via ESPN.com. "That's a positive to me. That's where you want your quarterback to be. That's the kind of relationship that you want to have with him where he can feel comfortable and say, 'Not that one.'"
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Dalton finished 3-for-3 for 31 yards and a touchdown in his only series Friday night, putting together a near-perfect QB rating of 149.3.
"This is his offense," Jackson said. "We create a lot of synergy among our players and our group by giving them that kind of trust and that kind of responsibility. Andy showed where he is [Friday]. He's growing in a lot of different ways, which is really good."
Dalton has shown an eagerness to assume a larger leadership role in what is a pivotal season for him and the Bengals. The team desperately needs to get over the hump after four straight one-and-done playoff exits under Dalton and head coach Marvin Lewis. With tight end Tyler Eifert and receiver Marvin Jones back in the fold, the pressure will be on Dalton to execute.